Developing Crisis on Israel’s Northern Border

by David Parsons, ICEJ Vice President & Senior Spokesman
Published on 7/8/2023

border between israel and lebanon crisis on israel's north border current affairs ICEJ 2023 David Parsons

Israel’s sharp divide over judicial reforms has Iran and its regional proxy militias thinking the Jewish state is weak and exposed. This has led Hizbullah to stage a recent series of open provocations along the Lebanon border that were met with tepid responses by Jerusalem. While no one is seeking a major war right now, even the smallest misstep could easily trigger an escalation, prompting officials in northern Israel to rush to provide more bomb shelters for their vulnerable communities.

Israel’s sworn enemies have watched over recent months as thousands of IDF reservists protested the government’s proposed judicial reforms by refusing to serve their annual reserve duty. The protests could impact the Israeli army’s preparedness for a major conflict with Iran. In response, Iranian and Hizbullah leaders have openly taunted Israel as a nation on its way down.

This is a serious misread of Israel’s military strength and national resolve. Nonetheless, Hizbullah has felt emboldened to test Israel’s readiness for a fight by conducting provocative actions in plain sight along the UN-demarcated ‘Blue Line’ between Israel and Lebanon. These included firing a tank shell into an open area in the disputed Mount Dov sector.

Until now, they mainly carried out covert operations along the border, such as digging terror tunnels under the security fence. In contrast, they are now openly baiting Israel to retaliate, leaving northern Israel on edge.

The IDF did send a strong signal that it is battle-ready by staging a major military exercise in the North which even simulated a large ground incursion deep into Lebanon to neutralise Hizbullah.

Meanwhile, towns and villages in northern Israel are rushing to bolster their civilian defences by upgrading and adding bomb shelters. Recent studies show the North sorely lacks adequate shelters for its growing population, especially given Hizbullah’s arsenal of over 200,000 rockets and missiles.

Over the past decade, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has donated nearly 200 mobile bomb shelters to vulnerable Israeli communities, with most going to towns along the Gaza border facing frequent Hamas rocket attacks, but we have managed to place some 50 shelters in northern Israel already.

Thanks to the generosity of a Swiss Christian family, we are currently delivering six new bomb shelters to the town of Shlomi, which was struck by a rocket fired from southern Lebanon on the first day of Passover.

A town of 9,000 residents which borders Lebanon, Shlomi has suffered its share of rocket attacks over recent decades. But city officials say the town is not prepared for what is likely to come in a future war with Hizbullah. Rocket alarms in Shlomi often give only 2-to-3 seconds of warning of incoming short-range mortars.

The ICEJ’s shelters are being placed in public areas to serve the whole community, such as playgrounds, synagogues and at bus stops.

In addition, ICEJ-USA is providing funds to refurbish 53 existing underground shelters in Shlomi. The work will involve sealing water leaks, fixing faulty electrical networks, installing new lighting, water pumps, drainage systems, and fans for improved ventilation, applying fresh coats of paint, and much more.

Please consider making a generous donation today to help protect & comfort Israeli’s on the Northern Border today, click here.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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