HomeJune 2024Three-Dimensional Chess

Three-Dimensional Chess

A Queeen, Two Bishops, Jews and Iranian Madmen

I was hospitalized for three weeks in April. I entered for surgery on an esophageal hernia repair, was told to expect a stay-over of one night but to pack for two nights “just in case.” “Just in case” of what? That’s the part of the next three weeks. It felt less that they were repairing my esophagus than that they were preparing my sarcophagus.
    I could have been a major league baseball player. I actually was that good and was passionate about the sport. The only thing that stood in my way was Shabbat. I also could have been a world-class chess grandmaster. The only thing that stood in my way for that was, uh, chess. But I know the rules and a bit about the game.
    Imagine that I take the other guy’s queen, then one of his bishops, then the other, and also a rook (castle), and he gets so bemused that he retaliates by capturing five of my pawns. From my experience, I basically have won. I just have to close the deal.  That is what happened when Iran and Israel recently exchanged moves.
    Israel knocked off a slew of mega terror commanders in Iran’s upper echelon, including the commander who stood on a par with Qassem Soleimani, chief organizer of all Iranian surrogate terror in Syria and Lebanon. In all, Israel eliminated two super-power IRGC generals and five officers. The airstrike in Syria killed Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who led the elite Quds Force in Lebanon and Syria until 2016, according to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. It also killed Zahedi’s deputy, Gen Mohammad Hadi Hajriahimi, and five other officers. Israel also obliterated the building adjacent to Iran’s consulate there. (They should have moved it to Jerusalem.) And some other Syrian non-Zionists.
    In retaliation, Iran and her proxies in Syria, Iraq, and the Houthis of Yemen went ballistic, launching more than 300 armed drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles at Israel. Here is what they accomplished:
1. They forced America to outright participate, for the first time ever, in defending Israel.
2. They took the wind out of Biden criticizing Israel for the unfortunate fog-of-war bombing of the seven humanitarian food people.
3. They forced Biden to stop pressing for a Gaza ceasefire and instead to beg for a retaliation ceasefire.
4. They forced Jordan to outright participate, for the first time ever, in defending Israel, albeit by defending their own Jordanian air space.
5. They took the wind out of England’s David Cameron criticizing Israel for the unfortunate fog-of-war bombing of the seven humanitarian food people.
6. They forced Cameron to stop pressing for a Gaza ceasefire and instead to beg for a retaliation ceasefire.
7. They put Israel’s Iron Dome, Arrow II, and David’s Sling systems to their first-ever true battle tests when the chips are on the table.
8. They demonstrated to Israel, America, Arabs, and the world that those systems are pretty, pretty, pretty good.
9. They provided Israel with an advertising and marketing opportunity more valuable than buying a minute on the Super Bowl, to line up customers throughout the world to buy Israeli-made air-defense systems because they now are proven, beyond bluster and hype, to actually work during warfare.
10. They showed the Sunni Muslim Arab world what awaits them if the Shiite Muslim Iranians ever succeed against Israel, forcing those Sunnis to consider joining the Abraham Accords to protect their own necks because they each know that, if Iran shot 300 things at them, their oil fields would be gone, and so would they, except for a surviving keffiyeh or two.
11. American Democrats (other than the insane Squad of Marxist Jew-haters) now are forced to recognize that Israel is not a basket case standing in line for charity but is a critical partner in protecting American interests in the Middle East. That is why, although Israel almost-always takes heat from the American State Department, she is a favorite of the Defense Department. Secretaries of State (except Alexander Haig, George Shultz, and Mike Pompeo) hate Israel. But Defense Secretaries (except for Jewish apostate Caspar Weinberger) love or, at least, like Israel.
    So what should Israel have done? Like the guy who takes all those high-value chess pieces in exchange for a few pawns, Israel legitimately could have “called it a day,” saying that she will “take the win,” and even would invite similar exchanges forever. Or she could have tried to emulate the exchange by picking another Iranian embassy or consulate to bomb along with the next guy or two on the IRGC list, and then await another 300 drones, cruise, and ballistic missiles. Or she could have used the Iran attack as an excuse to invade Rafiach (Rafah).
    Instead, she made a calculated move, determining that her own interests at this time, as she fights Hamas in Gaza and soon may be at war with Hezbollah in South Lebanon, were to send a chilling message to Iran without escalating the exchange into a fuller-blown war. So she bombed a defensive high-value site within Iran itself, not far from a nuclear facility, with Israel’s aircraft never having been detected by Iran’s defenses. It sent the message that Israel has Iran’s number and can strike and do more-than-serious damage, but this is not the time. It warned Iran’s leaders not to escalate further because they will lose more chess pieces—not only bishops, queens, and kings, but also maybe some mullahs and ayatollahs.
    Americans of all stripes, political leanings, religions, and parties have no taste for Iranian madmen running the world through murderous proxies. If push comes to shove, the recent exchange indicates that Israel will not stand alone against Iran.
    To receive Rav Fischer’s Weekly Extensive Torah Commentaries or to attend any or all of Rav Fischer’s weekly 60-minute live Zoom classes on the Weekly Torah Portion, the Biblical Prophets, the Mishnah, Rambam Mishneh Torah, or Advanced Judaic Texts, send an email to: shulstuff@yioc.org  

Rabbi Dov Fischer is rav of Young Israel of Orange County, Vice President of Coalition for Jewish Values, and senior contributing editor at The American Spectator. To join any of his online classes, email him at rabbi@yioc.org

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