The Israeli intelligence community, including Israeli military intelligence, has deemed Hezbollah a strategic threat to Israel. Hezbollah has reached the capability to strike virtually every strategic Israeli asset, including the strategic nuclear facility in Dimona, with rockets.
“Hezbollah has become a powerful military although it operates much like a guerrilla force,” an Israeli official said. “Iran and Syria have made Hezbollah the front line of any war against Israel.”
On Nov. 6, Israel’s military concluded its first exercise to test the readiness of the reserves and General Staff. The four-day exercise envisioned a Hezbollah and Syrian strike on northern Israel.
Hezbollah has accumulated an arsenal of more than 40,000 missiles and rockets, many of them with a range of more than 137 miles.
It can therefore strike every major Israeli city.
Hezbollah was also said to have established a military presence in much of Lebanon, including the Bekaa Valley, Beirut, south as well as the area north of Beirut.
This would require a greater effort by the Israel Air Force and the rest of the military than during the 2006 war.
Hezbollah has taken control over most of the Lebanese military. It says this would allow Hezbollah to use Lebanese military assets, such as air defense systems and helicopters, in any war with Israel.
“In the field, the Lebanese Army and Hezbollah work together,” an Israeli official said. “In the south, Hezbollah operates in civilian clothes while the military is in uniform. But their activities are completely coordinated.”
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.