In the Same Boat

Within hours of last week’s explosion at the Beirut port, Israel was offering to send in humanitarian and medical aid, as it has done following major catastrophes around the world.

The explosion, which damaged buildings as far away as six miles away from the port, killed at least 100 people and injured 4,500, overwhelming the hospitals and rescue personnel.

The IDF Home Front Command could have been there within hours, setting up field hospitals capable of performing lifesaving surgery, and searching collapsed buildings for survivors buried alive beneath tons of rubble.

But that didn’t happen because the Lebanese government put ego ahead of national interest. Its response to Israel’s offer was something along the lines of: “You, Israel, who constantly threaten to level Beirut with your bombs? We’re not going to give you the satisfaction of helping us now and garnering good press coverage.”

The reaction is both tragic and telling. Tragic because it denies the Lebanese, who have suffered horribly at the hands of a corrupt, irresponsible government, the opportunity to receive assistance that could have saved lives. Telling because it shows how Israel and the citizens of Lebanon are in the same boat, both being threatened by Hezbollah and its Iranian master. The difference is that, b’chasdei Hashem, Israel is capable of defending itself.

That is what’s behind Israel’s standing threat to level Beirut, not animosity toward Lebanese citizens. Israel is faced with an enemy that has threatened to wipe it off the map, and that is doing everything in its power to realize that threat — including developing nuclear weapons and arming Hezbollah with 130,000 missiles.

Under the circumstances, Israel can’t afford to hunt down every missile launcher and eliminate it surgically as it’s about to fire. It must deter the enemy by threatening a massive response to any missiles that are fired (indeed Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah later admitted that had he realized how fiercely Israel would react to his kidnapping of the two IDF reservists in 2006, he would never have ordered it).

That’s why there is no contradiction between Israel’s threatening to bomb Beirut and its offer of assistance in the wake of the ammonia explosion at the port.

However, where there is a contradiction, or at least a measure of moral inconsistency, is in the West’s tolerance of Iran and its agenda, which has caused untold suffering for millions of people.

Lebanon was once secure and prosperous. But then Hezbollah, Iran’s agent, took over. The result? Lebanon has gone from being the “Switzerland of the Middle East” to being another Gaza, with hyperinflation, a plummeting currency, high unemployment and shortages of basic necessities, including electricity.

The Trump administration has acted responsibly and imposed stiff sanctions against Iran to limit its ability to wreak havoc, forcing it to reduce its funding to Hezbollah from $1 billion a year to around a fifth of that. It has also imposed sanctions against Hezbollah.

The time has come for the rest of the world to follow suit, to wake up to its responsibility to the Lebanese people, to Israel and to the rest of the free world and choke off funding to the most evil force on earth.