Examining the various effects that COVID-19 might have on the Jewish state’s security, Efraim Inbar expresses his concerns about the logistical and economic strains the disease will likely put on the IDF. Militaries, moreover, depend on soldiers acting in unison in ways that are difficult to do while adhering to the social-distancing measures that can counteract the spread of contagion. As for the argument that Israel’s foes suffer from the epidemic as well, and may be less prepared to counter it—Inbar is not reassured:
The virus obviously does not affect enemy motivations to destroy the Jewish state. The proliferation of conspiracy theories holding Jews responsible for the coronavirus only intensifies such motivation. Poverty and sickness among Israel’s neighbors usually lead to the recruitment of desperate people for suicide bombings.
The assertion that the virus diverts enemy attention from the conflict with Israel and tempers the behavior of Israel’s enemies is, alas, wishful thinking; mainly of incorrigible optimists who have difficulty understanding the Middle Eastern mind. Iran continues its campaign to evict America from Iraq and its support of the Houthis in Yemen—despite the deadly results of the epidemic in Iran. Turkey continues its struggle to control Idlib. Its real constraint is Russian ambitions, not the coronavirus. Nor is there any evidence of moderation in Bashar al-Assad’s behavior.
National cohesion is a prerequisite for winning war, [however], and Israeli society is evincing outstanding national cohesion at present. Therefore, Israel has a decent chance at winning the war against the coronavirus.