Al Jazeera God's Chariots Israeli Tanks (Part 1 of 2)
Name:Al Jazeera God's Chariots Israeli Tanks (Part 1 of 2)
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Rip 10th May 2007
Capped 7th May 2007
God's Chariot Part 1
Since it was first produced in 1979, Israel's Merkava tank has gained a formidable reputation as one of the world's best-protected fighting machines.
Yet, in the summer of 2006, Hezbollah guerrillas in Southern Lebanon shattered this image.
In just over a month 49 of Israel's home-produced Merkava tanks – the symbol of the Jewish state's military prowess – were reported damaged or destroyed.
It was not only the tank that was damaged, but the myth of Israeli military invincibility so central to the psychological warfare of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The Merkava represents Israel's technological superiority in conventional warfare, but in the new era of guerrilla war, is the Merkava an asset or a liability?
Nabil Kawook of Hezbollah
On July 12th 2006, Hezbollah guerrillas in Southern Lebanon crossed the border into Israel and killed three Israeli soldiers. They captured two others.
Israel responded by sending in one of its celebrated Merkava tanks. It ran over a Hezbollah mine and was destroyed.
This dramatic moment marked the start of a full-scale war, the failure of which provoked a crisis in Israel's military and political establishments.
The Merkava was designed as a result of a similar crisis: the near disaster of the 1973 ('Yom Kippur') war in which Israel suffered significant casualties.
Israel's Merkava tank
The Israeli government charged General Israel Tal with designing a new tank to protect Israel's soldiers and crush its enemies.
The Merkava was to be the best-protected tank in the world, but by the time it emerged in 1979, the military threat posed by Israel's enemies was decreasing.
The Arab-Israeli war was entering a new stage, the relevance of tanks to which was unclear.
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