Analysis: Israel’s next war with Hezbollah will be swifter and decisive
Hezbollah has the capability to rain thousands of rockets and missiles on Israel in one day.
Last week, locals gathered in the northern town of Shlomi for a special event paying tribute to the 300th Brigade, the military unit that for the past 42 years has kept the western part of the northern border with Lebanon secure.
One by one, retired commanders took to the microphone and regaled the young soldiers with tales, running down the history of the area and the events that no one will ever forget – the Avivim school bus massacre, the Ma’alot school massacre, the Coastal Highway attack, the murder of members of the Haran family in Nahariya, and other scars that have been etched into the landscape of the scenic western Galilee.
The sense was that Israeli inhabitants of the North were being forced to pay a price for their decision to settle there. It wasn’t always like this. Since the War of Independence all the way until the 1970s, Lebanon was the least threatening neighbor, the tranquil country to our north. The joke during that time was that if war broke out, the IDF would conquer Syria, while the IDF Philharmonic would conquer Lebanon.
Since 1970, however, the year in which Palestinian terrorist organizations were evicted from Jordan and relocated to Lebanon, the Land of the Cedars has turned from harmless neighbor to terror haven. Today, it is home to the most significant military threat facing Israel.
There are those who say that Hezbollah is analogous to a small kitten that would often scratch you a bit – no more – but slowly, gradually grew to become a predator tiger. The organization today boasts 41,000 fighters in both conscripts and the reserves. Many of them have gained combat experience in Syria. Hezbollah also has more firepower at its disposal than 95% of regular militaries in the world.
Many of us err when we refer to it as “a terrorist organization.” From a moral standpoint, it is, but from a professional point of view, this is an inaccurate characterization. Indeed, Hezbollah has the capability to rain thousands of rockets and missiles on Israel in one day. It can also dispatch enough ground forces to capture towns adjacent to the border fence, making it an army in every sense of the word.
These words are not intended to sow fear. The odds of Hezbollah actualizing this capability and embarking on war against Israel are low. The organization is stretched thin from a strategic standpoint, so thin that it simply cannot afford to even play with fire, let alone initiate hostilities against us.
This past decade was the quietest ever in the Galilee, certainly in the last 40 years. It is becoming more apparent that the Syrian civil war will not end soon, which means that Hezbollah can ill afford the luxury of starting trouble in the North.
In hindsight, the Second Lebanon War looks different. Time has not dulled the seriousness of the failures that were exposed at the time, including
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