The surprise attack by Hamas on October 7 has been likened to Israel’s Pearl Harbor or 9/11 moment. The former resulted in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The latter led to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. How will Israel respond? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to take “mighty vengeance.” 

The big picture: Before October 7, there were weekly domestic protests against Netanyahu’s overhaul of the judicial system, while elite IDF reservists and Air Force pilots announced that they would no longer serve in the reserves due to the government’s policies. 

Now the calculus has changed. 

“Citizens of Israel, we are at war,” said Netanyahu. “Not an operation, not a round of fighting, at war!” He added it will be “long and difficult” and continue with “neither limitations nor respite until the objectives are achieved.”

Question: What are the objectives?

Flashback: On May 14, 1948, Israel was officially declared an independent state with David Ben Gurion as the prime minister. “A Jewish state on only part of the land is not the end but the beginning,” he wrote to his son. “We must expel Arabs and take their place.”

After the six-day Arab-Israeli war in 1967, Israel took control of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, taking East Jerusalem from Jordan, the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, and the Golan Heights from