Yves here. I don’t pretend to understand what Israel is thinking. However, one would think that its military strategists, and therefore at least some of its leaders, recognize that US support is destined to wane. Younger Jews do not identify much with Israel. And recent polls show that young evangelicals, once a bastion of support, were very much put off by the recent attacks on Palestine.
By Tewfik Hamel, PhD in Military History and Defense studies (Paul-Valéry University, France). Originally published at openDemocracy
Israel confuses peace with surrender. Its operational military doctrine, concerned with the army’s methods of combat, emphasises the imperative to bring hostilities as early as possible into enemy territory and, if necessary, to strike preemptively.
Israel’s strategic doctrine, which comprises the broad policies used to secure national objectives, seeks to preserve the state, within increasingly expansive borders, which also means the continued colonisation of Palestinian land. Both are about staying on the offensive.
Israel has used disproportionate force against civilians for decades. This is explained by the fact that it has been relatively successful in minimising the human and financial cost of war for itself. Yet history is full of tragedies caused by overestimating the power of offensive doctrines.
In its recent military campaign in Gaza, Israel’s ground and air forces reportedly conducted a total 1,500 strikes in 11 days, injuring 1,900 Palestinians and killing at least 254.
This must be understood in the context of Israel’s strategy, which from the outset has included deliberate attacks on civilians, their economies, institutions, and infrastructure.
In May 2009, Amnesty International released its country report for Israel and the occupied territories, which found that during a previous campaign, that year’s Operation Cast Lead, “Israeli forces repeatedly breached the laws of war, including by carrying out direct attacks on civilians and civilian buildings and attacks targeting Palestinian militants that caused a disproportionate toll among civilians.”
Statements by Israeli officials reveal that the disproportionate destruction and violence against civilians was a deliberate policy. In October 2008, Gabi Siboni, Director of the Military and Strategic Affairs Program at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), published a policy paper entitled “Disproportionate Force: Israel’s Concept of Response in Light of the Second Lebanon War.” It stated:
With an outbreak of hostilities, the IDF will need to act immediately, decisively, and with force that is disproportionate to the enemy’s actions and the threat it poses. Such a response aims at inflicting damage and meting out punishment to an extent that will demand long and expensive reconstruction processes. ‘Israel’s test will be the intensity and quality of its response to incidents on the Lebanese border or terrorist attacks involving Hezbollah in the north or Hamas in the south. In such cases, Israel again will not be able to limit its response to actions whose severity is seemingly proportionate to an isolated incident. Rather, it will have to respond disproportionately in order to make it abundantly clear that the State of Israel will accept no attempt to disrupt the calm currently prevailing along its borders.
For Israeli leaders, the periodic use of force is essential to communicate Israel’s capacity and resolve. As part of the Israeli security paradigm, when the state feels that deterrence against a particular actor is evaporating, it launches “deterrence operations” where concern for collateral damage to civilians tends to disappear. This was the case with operations “Summer Rains” (2006), “Cast Lead” (2008-2009), “Pillar of Defence” (2012) and “Protective Edge” (2014).
Deterrence by Punishment
The building of military power and the use of force have served a key communication function between Israel and its neighbours. Military power and the threat and use of force are seen as fundamental to convincing enemies that Israel can’t be destroyed.
National security depends more on the ability to unilaterally secure Israel on the battlefield than on the willingness to engage in dialogue with neighbours and seek a mutually satisfactory balance.
Since its foundation, Israel has been driven by the idea that overwhelming power equals security and whoever shoots first is almost certain to shoot last and win.
This leads Israel to develop a preference for deterrence by punishment rather than deterrence by denial. While the latter seeks to countervail aggression by making it more difficult for an aggressor to achieve their objective and convincing them that they will not attain their goals on the battlefield, deterrence by punishment raises costs on the aggressor by damaging civilian targets. Deterrence by punishment often involves threatening to destroy large portions of an opponent’s civilian population and industry.
In other words, for Israel, the threat of disproportionate retaliation will convince the enemy to refrain from aggression. This offensive doctrine has been practiced through successive conflicts, institutionalised through organisational reforms and professional military training, and codified in official publications, including the official Strategy of the Israel Defense Forces of 2015 (updated in 2018).
Mowing the Grass
The novelty of the recent attacks on Gaza is their conception. After the 2006 war with Lebanon, Israel developed the strategy of the “campaign between wars” (also called “mowing the grass”), which constitutes its long-term strategy and the context in which it operates towards its non-state adversaries.
For Israel, it is unlikely to be able to purge Hamas from Palestinian society, nor is a political solution likely to be achieved. Against an implacable, well-entrenched, non-state enemy like Hamas or Hezbollah, Israel simply needs to “mow the grass” once in a while to degrade the enemy’s capabilities.
A war of attrition against Hamas and Hezbollah is probably Israel’s fate for the long term. Keeping the enemy off balance and reducing its capabilities requires Israeli military readiness and a willingness to use force intermittently, while maintaining a healthy and resilient Israeli home front, despite the protracted conflict.
A review of Israeli military strategy reveals that the current situation reflects a natural progression in Israel’s approach to war. The legitimacy of excessive force grows the more Israel wants to reduce the risk to its own soldiers. The strategic adjustment that followed the 2006 war was visible in Gaza, as soldiers avoided entering the enclave to avoid being trapped as happened in southern Lebanon.
For Israel, enemy civilians are at the bottom of the hierarchy of death and as the recent Gaza offensive demonstrates, this has opened it up to global criticism.Failure to respect the notions of proportionality and discrimination in military engagement constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law.
The Dahya Doctrine
Governments target civilian populations for two main reasons: to reduce their own military losses and avoid defeat, or to seize and annex enemy territory.
Israel is content with a status quo in which the Palestinian national movement is physically and politically divided between Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. For Israel, Hamas cannot be eradicated militarily, because it is not just a resistance organisation. “Hamas is an idea […] no idea has ever been defeated by force,” as Amos Oz wrote.
Israel’s goals are therefore limited by necessity rather than by choice. The demise of Hamas’s rule in Gaza is not an attainable military objective. Hamas is well-rooted in Palestinian society, particularly in Gaza. Eradicating Hamas and the subsequent political engineering of Palestinian society is not something outsiders can do. Even if Hamas’s rule can be terminated, the alternatives are Israeli rule, the rule of more radical groups, or chaos. None are good options.
The “Dahya Doctrine”, Israel’s expression of this reasoning, includes the deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure and endorses the use of “disproportionate force”.
The first public declaration of these principles dates back to a 2008 statement by General Gadi Eizenkot, commander of the Israeli army’s northern front. What happened, he said, in the Dahya district of Beirut in 2006, “would occur in all villages from which shots were fired at Israel”:
We will exert disproportionate power against them and cause immense damage and destruction. From our point of view, these are military bases[…] This is not a suggestion. It is a plan that has already been authorised […]To harm the population is the only way to contain Nasrallah [the leader of Hezbollah].
This behaviour must be understood in the context of Israel’s strategy, which from the outset included deliberate attacks on civilians, their economies, institutions, and infrastructure. The damage and destruction are not caused by a few ‘bad apples’. The retired General Giora Eiland noted in 2008 that Israel would have to fight Hezbollah differently next time if it wanted to win:
Such a war will lead to the elimination of the Lebanese army, the destruction of the national infrastructure, and intense suffering among the populations. There will be no recurrence of the situation where the people of Beirut (not counting the Dahya neighborhood) go to the beach and cafes while the people of Haifa sit in bomb shelters. The severe damage to the Lebanese Republic, the destruction of homes and infrastructure, and the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people are consequences that can influence Hezbollah’s behavior more than anything else.
The so-called “Dahya doctrine” is a form of collective punishment that follows neither the laws of war, nor international conventions. . It reflects Israel’s confidence in its power as well as a sense of insecurity. According to the regularly recycled Israeli narrative, the Israeli army does not intend to strike civilian targets; rather, Hamas is to blame, because it exploits civilians as human shields and deliberately stores weapons in public facilities, mosques, hospitals, and homes.
Hamas is a radical Islamist organization, goes this narrative, and a confrontation is entirely the result of its actions. Hamas ends a truce with Israel, then Israel reacts to increasingly intolerable rockets and other provocations. This account only considers recent or immediate events, even though Israel has been the source of repressive actions for decades.
This increasingly contested line of argument does not hold up under the “Dahya doctrine“, according to which Israel consciously intends to strike civilian targets. This long conflict has yet to see a clear winner on the battlefields, but so far Israel has won the battle of public opinion, at least where it counts.
Empirical studies offer little evidence that targeting civilians helps perpetrators achieve a strategic objective. Analysis of the results of more than 30 air campaigns since World War I shows that the key to success is to attack the enemy’s military strategy, not its economy or its people. Military leaders and politicians are wrong in thinking that civilian punishment pays.
Politicians often overestimate the effectiveness of coercion, while they underestimate the costs. Coercive attempts often fail, even when the attackers have superior capabilities and inflict heavy punishments on the target state. Given the above, Israel is at a strategic impasse. It seeks to dissuade without being dissuaded and to resolve militarily a conflict whose solution is essentially political.
Israel has been successful with this strategy since Deir Yassin. As long as they get away with it, why change a winning recipe? There have always been cries that Israel is too brutal and violate international laws, but this has never led to any consequences beyond a few stern words.
It might not work forever, but humans tend to act based on experience, not possibilities of what might change in the future.
Israeli militarists have for decades been fond of pointing out to people that Israel is so small that it would take a tank about 2 hours to get from the Jordanian border to the sea. Most small countries with reason to fear neighbours either seek a ‘natural’ defensive boundary or to create some form of strategic depth. Geography hasn’t allowed the former for Israel, and with the exception of Egypt they have failed to entirely buy off or theaten their neighbours into submission. They do of course have unspoken good relations with the Gulf Arabs, but thats not much use when they have shown themselves incapable of fighting anyone who can’t or won’t be bought off.
So the only other alternative should be to ‘normalise’ their country, but this is inconsistent with the principle of a religious/ethnic based state when many of the people who live within the boundaries don’t conform to that religion/ethnicity.
So Israel is faced with a semi-permanent war in order to pacify those within its borders who are not granted citizenship rights, and a semi-war status with one or more of its neighbours. This is rarely sustainable in the long run.
I think Israel knows that it cannot long term rely on US support – this is one reason for its extreme belligerence towards Iran which makes little strategic sense, since Iran is a country which, after all, has no particular connection with the mostly Sunni Palestinians and does not have any strategic interest in the lands of Israel. Israel, in effect, feels the need to eliminate every enemy, including theoretical enemies while they have what they see as a closing window of opportunity. Once you start picking fights with theoretical enemies as well as real ones, then the potential for war becomes endless.
The result is a policy which is both vicious and short sighted, but is the logical outcome of refusing to question the nature of the State and its relationship with all the people who live on its lands and neighbouring lands.
Thank you and well said, PK.
Just one quibble with the fall in support amongst young Jews and evangelicals. That may be the case in the US, but not so much in western Europe.
One of my former direct reports, Jewish from Georgia, partly educated in NYC and married to a north Londoner, reckons Eyeran is out to exterminate Jews and does not understand why Brits don’t take the Eyeranian threat seriously.
In Western Europe, support is growing in the neo liberal, think Blairite and Cameroon wings in the UK and Macron’s PMC, and communities like Northern Irish and Scottish Unionists who feel under siege. Watch out for Israeli flags next week. The MSM may edit them out of the coverage, especially when statues of the Virgin are thrown on bonfires to huge cheers and flag waving.
Young Jew from “Georgia” ? Which “Georgia”? The Southern State, or the little mountain republic in Caucasiastan?
Thank you. GA, USA.
Thank you. I probably should have been able to guess that but my mind is very linear and literal sometimes.
You can add Latin American evangelicals to that list. Israeli flags are a de riguer presence at Bolsonaro rallies and demonstrations by the Venezuelan right wing, in addition to Israel figuring prominently in the rhetoric of the Bolivian coup regime, to name just a few.
PlutoniumKun and Colonel Smithers: One reason that Israel can no longer count on long-term U.S. support is that Israel has lost “control of the narrative.” More recently, we see Palestinian spokespeople who use idiomatic American-accented English–noting Muhammad al-Kurdi in the recent protests.
Further, the “narrative” now involves Americans seeing Israelis trying to dispossess Palestinians of their houses, olive orchards, and land. YouTube has plenty of video of settlers barging in and announcing that they own a house or a piece of land.
So in addition to one-fifth of Israel’s population being Arab (and discriminated against), you have the loss of control of the situation brought about by years of allowing the settlers to get away with anything.
And as you write, Iran is a distraction. The settlers, though, have ruined years of Israeli propaganda (the film “Exodus,” the noble sabra, the in-gathering) by beating up Palestinian grandmothers on camera. The Israeli government is losing control of its own goons.
Is this a recipe for peace? Probably not. But it is where a rather cynical government has ended up.
Thank you, DJG.
I agree with that and was wondering about how technology and social media have facilitated this welcome turn of events.
Speaking of goons, we have them over here. In addition, every June, except this and last year, a reception is hosted by sympathisers in Parliament for dual citizens fighting for the IDF, instead of Queen and country. There are no receptions at taxpayers’ expense for those who serve Queen and country.
Speaking of films, have a look at Ou vas-tu, Moshe for some insight on Maghrebin Jews and their migration to become cannon fodder.
Also look at the treatment of the Ethiopian Jews, arguably the oldest and “purist” sect of the Hebrew faith, and their mistreatment at the hands of the Israelii government. And, if the Ark of the Covenant really is at Axum in the Ethiopian highlands….
As for goons; we also have them over here. They often wear uniforms too.
Speaking of signs of the end of days, our Mississippi State baseball team just won the National championship for the first time in over one hundred years. It may be hot as h— up here but the infernal regions must be having a cold snap. Nothing else explains it.
I have another comment lost in moderation, but I think that the influence of narratives and international support, even from the US, can be overestimated. Israel will be able to rely on discreet support from foreign governments who see it as a pro-western bulwark in the region, irrespective of popular feelings, much as South Africa did, almost until the end.
On Iran, I think there are really two things. First, the country threatens Israel’s status as the regional hegemon, since it is too big and too powerful to attack. Secondly, and more importantly, Irans Axis of Resistance strategy is the only thing the Israeli government really fears. Hezbollah, in particular, is an obstacle to expanding Israeli power up to the Litany river, which was one of the original objectives of the Zionists.
Thank you and well said, David.
With regard to support, it’s not so discrete. In addition to British forces, European and Indo-Pacific Quad forces were also present in the exercises last week. The Jerusalem Post online was very emphatic in its coverage.
With regard to apartheid SA, examples are cooperation between SA, Israel and France for patrol boats (Minister / Reshef class), submarines (Emily Hobhouse class) and aircraft.
Swiss banks were heavily involved with trading minerals.
There is also the atomic warfare development co-operation. See the Vela Incident.
Vela Incident: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vela_incident
Thus, the so called Samson Doctrine comes into play. Figure the Israelis to promote a Gotterdammerung policy.
“There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare”
“Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.”, Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Israel’s Zionist experiment has been slowly unraveling for some time now. IMHO, its active suppression of dissent (e.g. BDM, Palestinian rights activists, etc.) and its kneejerk use to force are clear signs of ideological weakness. The fact that young Jews in the Diaspora have a waning interest in Israel is likely the death knell for the Israeli state. To them, it looks less like the Promised Land and more like a theocratic ethnostate (to paraphrase Tony Judt) that relies on cruelty for its existence and that will eventually be cooked by global warming.
More than over a decade ago I read an article arguing that (at the time) over 40% of Israeli society was working for either the security forces directly or the weapons industry, in one way or the other. The point was that for socioeconomic reasons Israel can’t afford peace.
To paraphrase a bit further, Israel has turned into a militarized theocratic ethnostate and doesn’t know how to undo itself.
Isn’t the actual size of the armed forces declining in Israel? I would imagine there as been the same substitution of tech for people going on though as in ‘regular’ businesses.
Or from your point, there is just a bigger tail and smaller tooth? And some of the tail has moved out of the uniformed services?
Beyond size, a question is how ready are they for combat with a capable, recently experienced foe? Think the Syrian Arab Army. Shooting fish in a barrel does not, typically, keep those skills sharp. It’s nearly five decades since the Israeli army has been seriously tested in ground combat.
Thank you and well said, PFC.
If you read last week’s Jerusalem Post, you will see footage of British planes and ships on exercise with Israeli forces over and off Israel. No such coverage was published in the British media.
Late last year, an agreement, covering military training and procurement, was signed between the UK and Israel. This accord extends aid to the civil authority, so British police can learn how to do a Derek Chauvin in exchange for showing the Israelis how to kettle protesters. Again, little coverage in the British media.
The suppression of ‘coverage’ aimed at the homeland population in matters pertaining to police proceedures suggests that those same homeland populations are the ultimate targets for the new police tactics.
Stay safe, you and yours.
Thank you, Ambrit.
I hope Phyllis and you are safe and well.
I am on the rock and roll until autumn and enjoying the racing.
A sailor, eh Colonel?
Thank you, PFC.
Rock and roll is Cockney / English rhyming slang for dole. I am unemployed.
It is finally dawning on some Israeli analysts that Israel is in a trap.
As Col. Lang put it:
“The Jewish population of Israel is afraid of the hammer and anvil effect of Hizbullah in the north and Hamas in the south just as the IAF and IDF ground forces fear the combination.”
As for the highly vaunted Iron Dome, Theodore Postol, long-time critic of missile defense systems, presents his criticism in this discussion.
The end game of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has not been well thought through by the current crop of Israeli leaders. Under current Greater Israel policies the Territories will eventually resemble Swiss cheese, with Palestinians confined to the metaphorical holes in the cheese. At that point there will be three options for Israel: 1) continuation of apartheid policies with two classes of citizens, 2) the Kahane Solution — expulsion of all Palestinians, and 3) a one person-one vote democracy. The last option will inevitably dissolve the Jewish State due to birth rate disparities that would advantage Palestinians. Americans now question whether the Afghanistan War was worth it, but from a safe distance. When Israelis ask the same question it will be existential.
Sort of on topic:
I have a rarely used Faceborg account because my institution uses it for marketing and communication and I need occasional access. Months ago during a “discussion” I noticed among actual friends on FB, I included a link to this book so certain people in the group could get a different perspective, not that I expected anyone to read it. I then promptly forgot about it until two weeks ago when I had to check in to view an institutional update. Up popped a message telling me that no one could see my comment because referring to that book violates FB standards (Ha!) and I should be ashamed of myself for disseminating disinformation.
“Published just months after the founding of the state of Israel and the end of the 1948 war, the novella Khirbet Khizeh was an immediate sensation when it first appeared. Since then, the book has continued to challenge and disturb, even finding its way onto the school curriculum in Israel.”
Has been on school curriculum in Israel but violates “Facebook standards” That’s just… well, I have no words really.
Maybe I’m an idiot, but just how does the novella violate Facebook’s admittedly amorphous standards? From the very little I can see, it would be like banning the Red Badge of Courage or even Joseph Plumb Martin’s Revolutionary War memoir by the current Woke or the “Conservatives.”
But maybe that is the goal. Eliminating nuance. Hence, eliminating resistance to whatever destructive self interested goals some have.
I have no words really.”
I suspect you do have words, but they’re not suitable for a family blog.
Israel along with many other countries has a foundation myth. I suggest reading the book,The Joshua Generation by Rachel Havrelock (Princeton, 2020) to learn something of this myth and how it guides Israeli government policies. Also, read Haaretz, an Israeli English language newspaper (available on-line) to gain a point of view about the population.
These 2 sources will provide an introduction to the topic of this thread.
The now-fading Labor Zionist Elites understood this and understood the futility of the “end game” being described. When the now-fading Old Fatah Elite understood its own version of the same thing from its own viewpoint, the two Elites made contact and under Norwegian auspices worked out the Oslo Accords.
Rabin and the Rabinists sincerely intended for the endgame to be a State of Israel and a State of Palestine. How much real and total sovereignty they wanted the State of Palestine to be able to excercise is an interesting question. But such a State of Palestine would have had enough sovereignty to be able to use that sovereignty as a crowbar and a tire iron to get more sovereignty , on the way to full and total Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines levels of Sovereignty.
Were Rabin and the Rabinists sincere in their intentions? Leftie Wingie intellectuals like to believe they never even meant it. Netanyahu and the Likudists thought Rabin and the Rabinists WERE sincere. Thats why Netanyahu and the Likudists were willing to arrange the Rabin assassination to stop Oslo from proceeding. Here is a link about that.
The country where Israel used to be isn’t really “Israel” anymore in anything but name. it is Likudistan now.
The only way the remnant Old Labor Elite Israelis could correct the situation is with a military coup (if they still own the military) and a program of violent attitude adjustment against the outlaw squattlers to get them to leave the occupied territories. Maybe killing a hundred thousand of them over a week or so with neutron bombs if necessary would convince the others to obey.
Such a coup government would then have to kill up to a million Likudistanis within the borders of Israel Proper within a month or less to keep the upper hand and teach the remaining Likudistanis to obey the Israeli government.
That’s the only realistic hope of survival that a ‘”State of Israel” really has any more.
Language is important but language is not facts. Calling Israel an apartheid country sounds good, but not only does Israel not have any apartheid laws, it has never done anything that qualifies it to be called apartheid under the existing definition.
Nor are the Israelis colonizers. They not only lived in that land for thousands of years, they bought a lot of the land. What you folks forget is that in 1948, Jordan occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank and expelled all the Jews. After the 1967 war, Jews reclaimed those areas and started moving back. Perhaps some of you would like to explain to me why Jews shouldn’t be allowed to move back where they use to live?
Finally, 60% of Israeli Jews are brown-skinned Mizrahi Jews who used to live in Muslim countries but were ethnically cleansed and a good deal of their property appropriated. I haven’t seen anything over the decades where anyone did a damn thing about that. It’s always the poor Palestinians but the fact that Israel had to rescue 50,000 Yemeni Jews (just a fraction of the million Mizrahi Jews it has taken in) is ignored.
Israel has offered to sign numerous peace deals in the past, but the Palestinians have always refused.
“lived in that land for thousands of years” They were the majority in Palestine for the first three centuries AD, and then converted to Christianity.
“Israel has offered to sign numerous peace deals in the past, but the Palestinians have always refused.” Ah, yes, the infamous “generous offer” etc. Never any Jewish offer in writing. What about Oslo, that you think gave you the right to move in hundreds of thousands of settlers and grab 90% West Bank real estate for free?
Sorry, but just because you say stuff like this that flies in the face of proven facts on the ground is not going to cut it. If the Israelis are not colonizers, then why do you have “settlers” in Israel? Laws passed in Israel not that long ago ensure that you have to be the “right” religion to be an actual citizen there. If Israel is not an an apartheid country, then why are Palestinians surrounded by concrete barriers and machine gun nests? Israel is losing its soul as religious extremists take over in that country and I seriously doubt that secular Israelis are happy with that either. Let me give you an example why I think so.
So a coupla weeks ago, Israeli soldiers, not settlers, soldiers raided a Children’s Center in Jenin’s refugee camp, the only one of its kind there. They blew up the front door, damaged furniture & equipment, destroyed the water pipes and taps so cutting off its water supply, wrecked the electricity safety box and thus cutting off electricity, damaged the stairs and the doors and forcing off the handles. So now the building unsafe and unusable. Why did they do that? Because they said that they were “looking for arms”. And the only way to check was to destroy that building so that the children could not use it which is utterly despicable.
So why did I mention that story? Because I read about stuff like this happening in Palestine nearly every damn day of the week, that’s why. Those are not the actions of a righteous people nor that of ‘the most moral army in the world’. The oppressed have now become oppressors.
“Never done anything that qualifies to be called apartheid”?
Even if what you say is true, for some definition of true, apartheid is less a matter of law than of attitude,disposition, perspective. Ask yourself this: are Jews and non-Jews treated with the same level of respect? Has the pre-1948 population of the region been displaced in part by the arrival and increase by in migration of Jews from sundry places?
Not just Jews and non-Jews, you have to be a right kind of Jew to be a proper member of Israeli society.
Check out Mizrahi rebellions. Mizrahim is a derogatory name given to Jews who did not participate in diaspora, but stayed and became too oriental according to their “returning” European and American brethren…
Mizrahim is not a derogatory term. It’s an ethnic description analogous to Ashkenazim and Sephardim. It is not that they didn’t ‘participate’ in diaspora, rather that they were a near-diaspora, eventually living in Muslim countries as dhimmies (as opposed to northern Europe or Iberia).
It is true that Mizrahim (and Sephardim, to a lesser extent, I believe) face discrimination in Israel.