EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: There is no technological solution to the problem of kite/balloon terrorism. However decisive it may be, technology in and of itself does not guarantee victory.
Even against a simple and creative threat like kite/balloon terrorism, the Israeli defense establishment is aiming for a technological deliverance. To be sure, technological superiority on the battlefield should be exploited whenever possible (for example Israel’s Iron Dome system, which provides an effective solution to the rocket threat). But the phenomenon of war, like World Cup football games for that matter, shows that physical factors ultimately depend on the human spirit. As Yigal Allon, one of the architects of Israel’s 1948 victory, put it: “Without downplaying the value of arms, the Palmah learned to view the human spirit as the main source of strength in the war.”
The Greek victory in the Trojan War, after ten years of fighting, was achieved via the famous ruse of the Trojan horse. Modern screening technology might have exposed the ploy. Yet according to the story, the problem lay not in the absence of adequate technology but in disastrously flawed judgment. The king’s daughter, Cassandra, repeatedly warned against the danger posed by the wooden horse, but in the general euphoria attending the seeming end of the war, her warnings fell on deaf ears.
Technology has a calming effect in that it ostensibly eliminates the need for personal vigilance, resourcefulness, and responsibility. It seems to allow us to overcome the uncontrollable randomness of the human spirit, which has always been difficult to gauge in times of crisis and war. Soldiers, like athletes and artists, have always been aware of the critical dependence on inspiration and “a hidden power” that brings them to the peak of achievement in critical moments. Those who have experienced the blessing of inspiration are more aware than others of the painful deprivation that accompanies its disappearance. In the words of King David’s lamentation in the Psalms, “My God, why have you forsaken me?”