Watch: The West can learn from Israel to beat ISIS

Israeli Education Min. Naftali Bennett says western powers must first genuinely believe they can win - and then take tough action.

Ari Soffer,

Israeli counterterrorism forces
Israeli counterterrorism forces
IDF Spokespersons Division

Western countries need to learn from Israel's experience in fighting Islamic terrorism to themselves defeat the jihadist threat from ISIS, according to Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

Bennett, who is currently in the US, made the comments in an interview with MSNBC earlier this week. The Jewish Home party leader was asked about a recent oped he penned for the Wall Street Journal drawing a parallel between Israel's battle with Islamists during the Second Intifada and the West's current struggle with "Islamic State."

He emphasized that the first stage was simply recognizing that Muslim terrorists could indeed be decisively defeated.

"My estimation is that (with) a concerted effort of about 50, 60,000 soldiers on ground, ISIS can be defeated in about 10 weeks," he predicted.

But first, world leaders needed to make the political decision and commit to a decisive strategy.

"As I learned with my own soldiers 10 years ago - we ere facing very similar situation, we were seeing dozens of terror bombs blowing up in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem - we felt helpless, we felt there was nothing you can do, and then the government made the decision and I entered with my own soldiers, we hunted down the terrorists in their homes, in their bases."

Bennett qualified that the ground forces need not be American specifically, but they must be "committed" - unlike the Iraqi armed forces who, while well-equipped and trained, bolted at the first sign of ISIS advances last year, enabling the jihadists to rapidly capture vast swathes of territory in Iraq.

Drone and other airstrikes are "good" and could apply "considerable economic pressure on ISIS," but won't defeat them.

Asked about US President Barack Obama's claims that ISIS is "contained" given that it has not made any major territorial advances since airstrikes began, Bennett noted such thinking ignored the long-term goals and modus-operandi of ISIS.

"Their motto is endure and grow," he stated, and estimated that while they were currently "hunkering down" due to airstrikes, once the campaign loses steam they would simply expand again if given the chance, and would continue to operate as such either until they achieve their goal of a global Islamic empire or caliphate, or until they are defeated.

"It might take 20 years, it might take 200 years - they've got a lot of patience," he said. "We have to defeat them."




top