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Snapshot: The IDF as Never Seen Before by Yoav Limor and Ziv Koren ((Illustrator), Gefen Publishing House, US $50.00, Pp 244, June 2018, ISBN 978-9652299383

In Israel, fifty-seven terror attacks killed 452 innocent persons in 2002, in 2015, twenty-nine terror attacks left twenty-eight innocent people dead. In other words, in 2002, each attack killed an average of ten people, while in 2015 each attack killed an average of one person. While the number of attacks declined by 50 percent, the number of fatalities went down by 94 percent. This is one of the achievements of the Israeli Defense Forces who have to fight terrorists in addition to defending the national borders. In Snapshot, Yoav Limor says that the nature of terror attacks has also changed over time.  In the past, most attacks relied on suicide while today’s attacks rely on any available method. Whoever succeeds in obtaining a weapon uses it. Whoever does not succeed has to improvise. This is how the wave of car-ramming attacks began, and then the stabbing attacks.

Yoav Limor says that this type of terror gives rise to imitations — a successful attack leads to more of the same type. Some of these are carried out by relatives, friends, or neighbors of the original attacker. Others are performed by people who heard about it and decided to follow the lead. Therefore, the security forces do not automatically liquidate every person who attempts to carry out an attack. It’s always good for a terrorist to be dead, but in the real world, a live terrorist is more valuable. A live terrorist provides intelligence, but beyond that – a trapped terrorist is no hero. His failure gives others food for thought. It prevents them from following his lead and carrying out attacks that imitate his own, are inspired by him, or average his death.

The Israeli Defense Force or IDF may be doing a great job at curbing terrorism in Israel, their primary job remains to defend the national borders. Yoav Limor says that the likelihood of a major, initiated war against Israel is very low but the possibility of escalation is expanding significantly. The escalation may start with an isolated incident – a large terror attack that will demand Israeli response which will provoke the other side to act. It can happen in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, or in all these regions simultaneously. To prevent this and to avoid the unwanted downward spiral, Israel has surrounded itself with fences, and the IDF has acquired expertise in continuous defense. Intelligence gathering battalions have been established in every region. Previously, two such battalions were responsible for all of the borders. Today, there are five battalions — one each on the borders of Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Judea, and Samaria, and the Sinai. It is highly likely that in the future, a sixth battalion will cover the Jordanian border after the fence is completed.

Snapshot opens a huge window and provides a look into the IDF. It is packed with knowledge and information about the IDF and illustrated with great and stunning photographs by Ziv Koren which makes it simply a pleasure to hold this beautifully manufactured book. Yoav Limor brilliantly shows how the IDF are structured and work. This must be in your library and/or on your coffee table.

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