IDF Chief: Hizbullah Is Greatest Threat to Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -

“Hizbullah is the military force that poses the greatest threat to Israel,” IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Eisenkot said on Wednesday during a visit with students at a school in Bat Yam.

“Hizbullah is in possession of the largest arsenal of missiles of any military force on Israel’s borders,” he stressed, “but the IDF’s deterrent capability has kept the Lebanese border quiet for over a decade.”

According to Lt.-Gen. Eisenkot, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah is investing most of his efforts into developing that missile capacity with the goal of attaining a strategic balance with Israel. The situation in Lebanon, as on all Israel’s borders, will require the IDF to maintain a high level of vigilance for years to come.

Regarding the wave of terror which continues to plague the country, the IDF head said that Israel is doing what it believes is necessary to do, and that at this stage there is no reason for a change of policy, including any change in the rules of opening fire, which are sufficient as they are.

“In Yehudah and Shomron, there are thousands of soldiers surrounding a million Palestinians and hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens. We are training our soldiers to operate according to the ethics and spirit of the IDF. It is much easier to act against Syria or Lebanon. If we would act in a non-ethical manner in regard to the guidelines for opening fire, it would be dangerous for the IDF. We had a 170 terror incidents in the past few months, and more than a hundred terrorists were killed where soldiers had only seconds to react.

“I would not want a soldier to empty his magazine on someone carrying scissors in her hands. Our soldiers act ethically, and we intend to keep it that way.”

The IDF chief also said that “cooperation with security forces of the Palestinian Authority, which number about 40,000, are good, and the security establishment monitors developments in the field on a daily basis.”

“The state of Israel,” he added, “is confronted by four main threats: conventional military forces, which have not been engaged since 1973; the Iranians; non-state terror organizations; and cyber warfare.

“The phenomenon of terror has been with Israeli society all through the years, and the stabbers were there years ago, as well. Palestinian youth, chiefly single males, mostly educated and not from distressed families, seize a knife and go out into the street, a daily occurrence.”

“The Islamic State has an influence on what is happening here. There are 10,000 to 15,000 young people who are leaving Europe to fight for the cause. If, in the past, we were fighting against terrorist groups with bomb factories, today the knife is found in every kitchen, in every house. The desire of terrorism is to sow fear and terror among the citizenry, its success is in preventing citizens from living a normal life.”