Schneider Aviel

MembersI’ve Never Met a Bad Shiite

In the course of my editorial work, I keep in contact with various Middle East experts and commentators.

Shiites in Lebanon
Photo: Thair Alhassany/Flash90

Two weeks ago, I received an email from one such expert who had talked to two Iranian analysts in Tehran regarding Israel’s latest scoop on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. I later received from her a WhatsApp message reading: “For us (in Israel) the Shiites are better than the Sunnis.” I explained to her why that is often the case. During my service in the IDF in the 1980s, I worked together with Shiites in southern Lebanon. At that time, Israel was in close cooperation with the now-defunct South Lebanon Army (SLA), which was founded in 1976 during the course of the Lebanese civil war. Israel and the SLA forged an alliance to combat the Palestinian terrorist organizations, namely the PLO and Amal, that had infiltrated and seized control of large parts of Lebanon. The SLA was made up largely of Christians, but also included many Shiite and Druze soldiers. I spent many nights on ambushes deep in southern Lebanon together with my Shiite SLA comrades. And it all seemed completely normal. We even felt like brothers defending our shared...

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