As the days turn to weeks and the operation within Gaza deepens, attention is turning to the “day after,” and the discussion is expanding in both media and political awareness. The United States, along with Arab states surrounding us and Western European countries, are already there. Who has not joined yet? Israel, of course.
The Prime Minister's recent speech clarified to anyone who still had doubts that Israel has no strategic way out of the war or a long-term plan for the day after. What is certain is that “what was will not be again.” The startup nation will become the restart nation.
The Prime Minister stated that security responsibility will remain in the hands of Israel for an extended period, and that "others" will take care of civilian issues. However, is there realistic and practical strategic thinking here, and how should one truly prepare for the day after?
Rebuilding the defense establishment
On the day after, all the top defense, political, and state leadership in Israel will need to assume responsibility and be held accountable for the colossal failure. All heads of the defense establishment will be replaced, the current Israeli government will be unable to continue functioning, and the government at its helm will conclude its historic, tragic, and failed role. The political echelon will do everything to remain in power and may even prolong the conflict accordingly.
After replacing its commanders, the IDF will not be able to be caught again without supplies and food for the entire reserve system. The army will no longer be in a situation where it cannot provide a defensive response to the residents of the border areas in Israel for long hours. The IDF will be forced to implement operations even in the territories of the Palestinian Authority, with the support of the far-right factions in the region.
On the day after, the state will need to rehabilitate and rebuild the Israeli police, supplementing it with forces, equipment, and resources, and adapt its capabilities to maintain law and personal security for all citizens of the state.
Above all, it will be crucial to establish a professional, governmental leadership figure capable of guiding the construction of the police force in the coming years, with an emphasis on restoring the rule of law and governance in Israel.
The government will need to rehabilitate and rebuild its prison services, significantly enhance the incarceration capabilities of the system, and dramatically upgrade the quality of personnel and resources allocated to the organization.
The Shin Bet will need to thoroughly investigate the reasons it failed to provide accurate intelligence on the scope of Hamas' attack and rebuild its collection systems in the Gaza Strip.
The IDF and the Ministry of Defense will need to rebuild the border fences facing Gaza and Lebanon and create a more serious and resilient barrier against infiltrations.
The northern and southern borders
The state will be required to provide a comprehensive and inclusive response to the residents of the communities adjacent to Gaza and to the Lebanese border, rehabilitate the homes in the Gaza periphery, rebuild trust with their residents, and reconstruct the land.
Israel will require a government that will need to address urgently a wide range of issues. These include the significant budgetary challenges, the damages and costs of the war, and the physical, economic, security, and industrial rehabilitation of the border regions in the north and south.
In a long-term strategic plan for the development of Israel's military, intelligence, and law enforcement, alongside the rehabilitation of the societal situation, Israel faces a crisis due to its significant internal divisions and immense polarization. Yet, it managed to unite around the needs of citizens and the military.
Through a change in the system and structure of government and elections, in a way that enables the formation of stable governments with the ability for long-term planning, national governance, and a dedicated commitment to the recovery of the economy, national resilience, and security.
The political process
Israel will need a regional diplomatic process that requires, on one hand, a series of arrangements with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and in Gaza, continued efforts towards an agreement with Saudi Arabia, and the preservation and strengthening of the strategic alliance with the United States and Western European countries. Additionally, there will be a need for a reassessment of relations with countries that openly opposed Israel during this time, such as Turkey, Russia, and others.
The next Israeli government will need to establish an international, professional, efficient, and effective public diplomacy array that caters to the informational needs of Israel. It should not rely solely on private organizations or individual initiatives by citizens.
Primarily, Israel and its leadership will need to build a unified Israeli identity that transcends the tribal identities that the current government has fostered over many years. This includes addressing the integration of the Arab and ultra-Orthodox communities at the core of the country's activities.
The victory has not been completed yet, and Hamas still retains political and military control in the Gaza Strip. The captives are still held by Hamas, and residents of the border communities are still far from their homes. The mourning for the deceased has not concluded, and there is still uncertainty regarding the identification of some of the missing individuals.
Nevertheless, the day after is already here, and we must think about all the issues that have been outlined. The State of Israel and its civic and military systems will require a reboot.
Lior Akerman is the Head of the National Resilience Department at the Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS), Reichman University.