Bennett Warns Lebanon over Hezbollah Chief’s Threat

YERUSHALAYIM (AP/Hamodia) -
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett. (Ohad Zweigenberg/Pool)

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett warned Lebanon, following threats by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, that Israel will hold Lebanon responsible for hostile actions by the terrorist group.

Bennett, a member of Israel’s security cabinet, said that any future attack by Hezbollah would be considered a “declaration of war by the Lebanese state” as a whole. Nor will Israel operate “surgically” in the next war with the Shiite militia.

Bennett’s remarks to Army Radio on Monday followed Nasrallah’s threat Sunday to crush any Israeli force that enters Lebanon.

However, despite announcing it as a “new strategy,” it was not clear that Bennett was authorized to speak for the Israeli government on the matter. The Prime Minister’s Office on Monday did not respond to a query asking if Bennett spoke for Netanyahu, The Times of Israel said.

“Israel’s interest is to prevent another confrontation in Lebanon, and so our new strategy is simple: Lebanon equals Hezbollah, Hezbollah equals Lebanon,” Bennett declared.

“Unlike the Second Lebanon War, this time we won’t differentiate between the organization and the state of Lebanon. This means any attack by Hezbollah will cause destruction throughout Lebanon and its institutions,” he added.

In a speech marking the 11th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War with Israel in 2006, Hezbollah General-Secretary Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday advised Israel to relocate its Dimona nuclear reactor. He said it too is a target for his organization, now that its armed with more accurate, long-range missiles. Previously, he threatened to attack the huge ammonia tank in Haifa.