“Lebanese citizens should know that Hezbollah is their problem, not Israel, because if Hezbollah acts against the State of Israel, Lebanon will pay the price. I hope it does not happen, and we’re here to be prepared for a moment I hope will not come,” said Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Tuesday.

It was not the first time the defense minister, who is also Israel’s alternate prime minister, has issued such a warning. In July, Gantz said the IDF had been instructed to bomb Lebanese infrastructure if Hezbollah harmed Israeli soldiers or civilians.

Gantz also signaled optimism about the prospect of an eventual peace deal between Israel and Lebanon, as the two countries are holding rare indirect talks on demarcating their disputed maritime border.

“I also hear positive voices in Lebanon that are even talking about peace with Israel, who are implementing processes with us like shaping the maritime border,” Gantz was quoted as saying in a statement from his office.

Gantz’s remarks came during a visit to the northern part of the country to observe one of the largest IDF drills ever, which kicked off on Sunday. Dubbed “Lethal Arrow,” the exercise, which is scheduled to last until Thursday, simulates a war with Israel’s enemies along the northern border.

“The defense establishment must ensure security 365 days out of the year on every front,” added Gantz. “A significant aspect of Israel’s security is the IDF’s readiness [for war]. I welcome this comprehensive training exercise that is taking place in almost every part of the country.”

“Our enemies are not resting—not in the north, not in the south, neither near nor far—and we will continue to defend the citizens of Israel, continue to deter our enemies, continue to impair their armament efforts, and we will be ready for any battle,” he said.

Assessments of Hezbollah’s missile arsenal put its stockpile at some 130,000, many of which are precision-guided.

The terrorist organization’s missiles have been hidden in, near and under up to 200 villages in southern Lebanon. Locating and neutralizing these stockpiles might require house-to-house searches and close-quarters combat.

Hezbollah, which is a key player in the unstable world of Lebanese politics, has denounced the Gulf states’ recent normalization treaties with Israel, though Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri is backed by Saudi Arabia, which has quietly supported the Gulf’s rapprochement with Israel.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision

One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.

JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.

Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.