Northern Israel is facing increased aggression from Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terror group. CBN News visited Israel’s northern border with Lebanon this week, where residents fear that after 17 years of relative peace, war could break out. From the city of Metulla, the visitor can see a spectacular view into southern Lebanon, where, after the 2006 Hezbollah War, Iran’s proxy has been re-arming and now has as many as 200,000 rockets on the other side of the border. We joined former Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) Colonel and National Security Advisor Kobi Marom for a tour along the border. “I would like to emphasize that 3, 4, 5 years after the Second Lebanon War, we saw an amazing re-arming process from Iran through Damascus to Lebanon, and the Israeli government took a critical decision to restrain and not react to this re-arming process, Marom explained.
“That’s the reason why the major threat against the Israeli people today, is 200,000 rockets and missiles across the border that can target to the city of Tel Aviv and other Israelis,” said Marom. That arsenal serves as a deterrent to keep Israel from attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities, and Marom believes the regime has given Hezbollah a green light to turn up the heat. “The Iranians have a high self-confidence, and they understand that if they can put a lot of pressure on the Israeli government and the IDF, they will succeed with the Hezbollah to create an attrition war along this border right here.” A wall constructed at the border serves as one of Israel’s defences. According to Marom’s analysis, “They’re really concerned about the fact that Israel is going to build a wall – an obstacle along the 70 miles of the Lebanese border – because their war plan is to occupy neighbourhoods from the Israeli communities along the border and actually, destroy totally the Israeli war plans.”
Near the village of Ghajar, east of Metulla, is a closed military zone, and up on the hillside are tents set up by Hezbollah for the last several weeks, inside Israeli territory. It’s the latest provocative act by the terror group. The question now is, will Israel destroy the tents or allow them to remain? Just a few days ago, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sparred over the tents. Nasrallah boasted, “I say to the Zionists beware of any stupid step or decision of one kind or another. We are ready for any option.” Netanyahu fired back from his weekly cabinet meeting: “As for Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s bunker threats, we are not impressed by them. On the day we are tested, he will find us standing together, shoulder to shoulder – he nor Lebanon should put us to the that test.”
Yet instead of backing down, Hezbollah is pushing the envelope. Propaganda videos are rampant, ranging from a simulation of an attack on an IDF outpost to intimidating military exercises and other footage that shows Hezbollah Special Forces patrolling the border fence in violation of the U.N. resolution that ended the last war. Marom also sees Hezbollah taking advantage of Israel’s internal division. “They look to the tough struggle inside Israeli society as a great opportunity to create challenges to the Israeli government, to the Israeli people,” he said. “They saw how it’s affected the strength of the IDF, the Israeli defence force, so they said, ‘Hey, the Israelis are crazy. They’re fighting each other. That’s exactly the opportunity to escalate the situation.’ So that’s why it’s happened lately.” Marom also fears what could potentially result from the combination of the terrorists’ bravado and the precarious situation with Israel’s domestic divisions. “Is it possible that we face a war between Israel and Hezbollah in the near future? Yes, it’s possible with a miscalculation of one of the sides.”
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