If you haven’t heard about it, there was an alarming development last month in the struggle between Israel and the terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon.
It received very little press here because the media pages and airtime were taken up by name calling, finger pointing and professional wrestling-esque bratty behavior which has now morphed into shoving, pushing and punching at political events!
For those of you who like the spectacle of wrestling (and I must confess to a teenage fascination with professional wrestling myself, lo those many years ago) you might find the showmanship of what is happening between Hezbollah and Israel interesting as well — but with real harm and real blood being possible results.
Here’s the nitty gritty: In a televised address to supporters of a Shia militant group in Beirut, Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s Secretary General, declared that “Lebanon has a nuclear bomb.” He went on to say that this is “no exaggeration.”
He continued with a laugh, “OK, we don’t really have a nuclear bomb,” but Hezbollah does now have the ability to launch longer ranged missiles from Lebanon onto the ammonia storage depots in Israel’s port city of Haifa. This would have the same impact as a nuke Nasrallah said — the potential of blowing up 15,000 tons of toxic gas in a heavily populated area resulting in tens of thousands of casualties in the blink of an eye.
Hezbollah’s rocket and missile arsenal is now estimated to be 150,000, supplied in the most part, by their good buddy Iran who has also provided them with advanced precision guidance systems which put not only Haifa in their sights but the IDF headquarters (Israeli Defense Force) in Tel Aviv, the Knesset (the Israeli congress) in Jerusalem and the nuclear reactor in Dimona.
Israel’s very effective Iron Dome missile defense system guards against short range missiles. What Iran has given to Hezbollah is the capability to launch long range missiles. Israeli IDF Chief of Staff admitted that Hezbollah is now “the organization with the most capabilities” to inflict harm on the country.
In another development, the Gulf States and the Saudi’s recently made the decision to pull out of Lebanon branding Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
That’s a good thing right?
But, in reality it actually paves the way for Iran to establish even greater control in Lebanon increasing the tension with Israel.
So, maybe Hezbollah doesn’t really have a nuke; but it does have a similar destructive power. And for some reason Nasrallah finds his little “joke” amusing.
Believe me, Israelis are not laughing at his attention getting show — would you be?
While back in the day, there was not the flashy, over the top drama that occurs today in the wrestling ring or in national and international political arenas. No, there was none of the saber-rattling or threat conveying through joke making. But a serious “hold maker” back then could quietly get an opponent into a bout ending figure-four-leg-lock or a full-nelson to shut the noise up.
I believe that Israel is and will remain just such a bout ending “hold maker.”
Wendy J. Levenfeld is a published novelist, playwright and columnist. Comments can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.