Though there are numerous factors that can be weighed in reaching a comprehensive assessment, three questions are paramount: Did Israeli society, whose resilience is our single greatest asset, emerge from the war stronger? Did Israel, on balance, deepen the alliances on which it must rely most? And have our enemies been given good reason to hesitate before embarking on subsequent campaigns against us? In all three cases, the answer is a clear yes.

First and foremost, Israeli society was strengthened over the last seven weeks. Though this fact is currently being obscured by the candid stock-taking and the re-emergence of the kinds of disagreement and finger-pointing that characterize a healthy democracy, the unity, solidarity, and resolve Israelis showed during the war was of an unprecedented nature. Israelis, not in the thousands but in the millions, maintained normal lives in the most abnormal of circumstances, showered soldiers with moral and material support, demonstrated gritty determination to continue the ground war despite the large number of IDF casualties, and bolstered the spirits of those most in need by attending en masse funerals of people whom they did not know—with the most sublime symbol being the sign placed near the grave of ex-Californian infantry fighter Max Steinberg, “There is no such thing as a lone soldier in Israel.”

Such acts gave Israelis and their leaders the fortitude to go on under difficult circumstances, but also have longer-term effects. They etched into the hearts of Israelis, especially those who recently came of age, that we are a people capable of great courage, compassion, and commitment when it matters most. When the dust settles and the commentaries of today and tomorrow are forgotten, it will be this sense that will remain and will instill in Israelis the conviction we have what it takes to survive and thrive, come what may.