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Israel’s Hezbollah deterrence is eroding as Lebanon border heats up

IDF seniors warn that Hezbollah is becoming bolder and bolder, increasingly attempting to infiltrate Israeli territories and to provoke incidents with Israel.
Israeli soldiers take position along the border with Lebanon, in the town of Metulla in northern Israel, July 12, 2023.

TEL AVIV — Israeli security officials are concerned over increased boldness on the part of Hezbollah in recent weeks, with several attempts by its members to infiltrate into Israeli territories. In reaction, the Israel Defense Forces are also enhancing its visibility in the region. 

The 7th Brigade of the Armored Corps, equipped with Israel’s most advanced Merkava tanks, held a large showcase drill in northern Israel this week. In an unusual move, a US-armored battalion joined the exercise and its commander was even interviewed on an Israeli TV channel. The exercise in the Wadi Ara region simulated an attack on the southern Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil, the scene of a bitter battle between Israeli troops and Hezbollah during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

While Israel does not plan to invade Lebanon with the help of US forces in any future war with Hezbollah, the joint exercise was a clear attempt to restore Israel's increasingly eroding deterrence vis-a-vis the Iran-backed militia, as reflected in growing tensions between the sides in recent months. The drill was a message to the organization's Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah that the domestic upheavals in Israel, including mass pro-democracy protests and threats of insubordination by reserve soldiers and pilots on active duty, have not undermined the military’s state of fitness and readiness.

"Nasrallah lost his fear"

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