Yesterday, as we sat with friends to celebrate Passover, Israeli radio repeatedly announced missile warnings. The day before, rockets had been fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, and when the air raid sirens went off again in the afternoon, it took us a few minutes to realize what was happening. We were being fired at from Lebanon, a total of 34 rockets throughout the day. A friend of mine who lives in the town of Shlomi near the border with Lebanon joked that he just ran into the bunker with his family. The family survived Passover. We later learned that Hamas was behind the rocket attack from southern Lebanon, under Hezbollah supervision, of course.
Somehow Israel itself is to blame for the escalation
In recent weeks, or rather since the change of government in Israel, Arab media has been closely monitoring the Jewish state’s internal political disputes. How often have we warned that our Arab enemies will interpret popular unrest as weakness. The government has been so preoccupied with judicial reform that no one in the coalition has given much thought to the sporadic rocket attacks from Gaza in recent weeks. Only Defense Minister Yoav Galant warned of an escalation. But also high-ranking generals and, among others, the heads of the Israeli security service Shin Bet and Mossad, as well as the chief of police, warned the government of a possible escalation. But the political echelon seemed too busy with other matters. To a certain extent, the government was only concerned with implementing the judicial reform, which is why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Justice Minister Yariv Levin were heavily criticized in the ranks of the coalition. In addition, in such a risky situation, Netanyahu announced the dismissal of his defense minister, fully aware of the danger in doing so.
Those who benefited from the chaos among the Jewish people were Israel’s enemies, Hamas and Hezbollah. Hamas has been inciting Palestinians in recent nights by suggesting Israel will not allow Muslims to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque atop the Temple Mount. Dozens of Palestinians entrenched themselves in the prayer hall with stones and firecrackers after midnight and locked the door to the hall from the inside. After the “devout Muslims” refused to open the prayer hall doors, Israeli police stormed the building. Stones and firecrackers were hurled at the Israeli police officers. There were injuries on both sides.
Of course, the whole thing looks very bad in the video clips being shared on social media and the mainstream media. Hundreds of Palestinians were arrested. Later it turned out that numerous Palestinians had been trapped in Al Aqsa against their will. They were forced to do so by Hamas supporters. The videos went viral and Israel was condemned by Arab governments for beating Muslims during their Ramadan prayers. Hamas played this up in the world media, further inflaming the tempers of the Palestinian Arabs. Protests broke out in Arab towns across Israel, as well as in Palestinian-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria. The same thing was repeated the next evening as the children of Israel sat around the holiday table and celebrated the biblical feast of Passover.
Again, Hamas has fired rockets at southern Israel in support of “Muslim believers” in Jerusalem. And there have been repeated riots inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Again the same spectacle on the Temple Square and in the media. The Arab world denounces Israel. Rocket fire on Israel’s south continued the next morning without a serious Israeli response. Rocket fire from Lebanon began later in the afternoon. In its statement, Hezbollah threatened Israel:
“We will stand with the Palestinians every step of the way to protect the Muslim worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque and deter the enemy. We condemn the Israeli invasion of Al-Aqsa Mosque, injuring the Muslim faithful and arresting hundreds of Palestinians just to allow the (Jewish) settlers to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque (Jewish Temple Mount). We stand wholeheartedly with the Palestinian people and support their resistance to Israel.”
A new Lebanon war?
Israel’s security apparatus warned of such a development. Hamas in the Gaza Strip is being tactically supported by Hezbollah in Lebanon, as it was in the summer of 2006 when the Second Lebanon War broke out. In June of that year, Hamas terrorists killed two Israeli soldiers at the border fence and kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Hezbollah launched rocket attacks on Israel in the north to ease IDF pressure on Hamas in Gaza. That pulled Israel in the Second Lebanon War. And that’s what many fear is happening again, only this time Hezbollah has much more modern rockets, which is causing Israel new concerns. In addition, the enemies hope that Israel’s internal disputes can benefit them. But that won’t work.
Lebanese Christian militia leader Samir Geagea criticized the Lebanese government on Twitter:
“What is the justification for firing dozens of rockets from southern Lebanon at Israel right now? How will the Lebanese government react after its commitment to UN Resolution 1701 (ceasefire after the Second Lebanon War)? If the government has relinquished its strategic interests in favor of the Axis of Resistance (Hezbollah), then it has relinquished its responsibility for the security of our homeland and citizens.”
In Lebanon, Hezbollah has been heavily criticized for its rocket attacks on Israel.
In our recent Zoom meeting, I made it clear that what reconciles and unites Israel has always been external conflict and war. That’s not what I want, but that’s often the only way to wake up the Jewish people. The only problem is that the right-wing nationalist government is not behaving as such, which is why right-wing voters themselves have criticized it. So far it has not responded to rocket attacks and terrorist attacks in the way its constituents were promised before the election. The government must respond to the missile attacks in a way that finally convinces its constituents that this is a truly right-wing coalition government, but the government must also be careful not to drag the Middle East into war.
Israel Today Membership
Save 18% Per Month.
Six Months Membership
Save 9% Per Month.