Today, Wednesday, June 7th, 2017, the IDF (Zahal) Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot, began the seminar “For Them, Through Their Journeys” to honor the fallen soldiers and officers of the Second Lebanon War.
The IDF (Zahal) Chief of the General Staff referred to, among other things, the current situation on Israel’s northern border.
“From our point of view, Hezbollah suffered a severe blow: between 1,300 and 1,400 casualties, a hard hit to the organization’s infrastructure, with the IDF (Zahal) 7-14 kilometers into Lebanese territory at the conclusion of the war.
In the last 11 years, Hezbollah has grown stronger in its abilities, even though it is currently in a very complex situation. Residents of northern Israel have experienced 11 years of unprecedented calm since the establishment of the State of Israel. Children today grow up in Kiryat Shmona and Nahariya without sirens, Katyushas, or terrorist infiltrations into their communities. This reality is in stark contrast to the situation that characterized northern Israel for decades.
Israel’s strategic position and strength relative to our neighbors, and specifically Lebanon, is substantial, and the IDF (Zahal) is a strong, powerful army with an indisputable advantage over its enemies. Hezbollah is currently facing a very complex strategic reality: a third of the organization today is fighting in Iraq, Yemen, and mostly Syria. Hezbollah has lost 1,700 members over the past three years and close to 7,000 have been wounded. The organization has experienced challenges in combat, all while attempting to implement the structure of a conventional military.
On the other hand, Hezbollah is gaining operational experience, something that we cannot ignore, alongside their severe budgetary and morale problems. This is in addition to the loss of two of its senior commanders in the last seven to eight years: Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed in Damascus, and another senior Hezbollah commander who was assassinated a year ago by his superiors. These findings are based on our intelligence assessment, which I believe is accurate and encompassing. The organization is in a difficult situation, currently fighting in Syria, but don’t let that fool you. Israel’s northern border and Hezbollah are our top priorities. We have defensive plans, offensive plans, and a high level of readiness.”