Israeli media described the two-hour address delivered May 25 by Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah as the “coughing speech.” Right after the televised speech, Israel’s Military Intelligence issued an assessment that Nasrallah, who had not been seen in public for weeks, appears to have contracted the coronavirus but refuses to take a test. Nasrallah, who appeared thin and pale, obviously had trouble breathing as he coughed his way through the speech, and his medical condition overshadowed its more interesting contents.
In fact, two speeches delivered at almost the same time — one in Beirut and one in the Gaza Strip, one by the head of a Sunni terrorist organization (Hamas Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar) and the other by a Shiite one (Hezbollah’s Nasrallah) — conveyed the same message to Israel. Both warned that Israel risks war if it tries to change the status quo in Jerusalem, if it takes any unilateral steps at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, one of Islam’s holiest sites. Nasrallah even described this future conflagration as a “regional war.”