Speaking at a Conference in Herzliya, General Herzl Halevi gave an overview of Israel’s strategic position: “On the one hand, the (overall) situation is improving… we are stronger than the other actors which surround us”. However, he underlined that the Middle East’s continuing instability represented a constant challenge.
General Halevi added: “If there is another war, Israel will recover and rebuild… We are a strong society, and advanced society”.
Halevi’s comments came after Major-General Yitzhak Gershon, who commanded the home front during the Second Lebanon War, warned that in a future conflict with Hezbollah, Israel’s northern communities could expect around 1,200 rockets daily, in comparison to 160 in 2006.
On January 27th, Hezbollah killed two Israeli soldiers in retaliation for an airstrike in Syria targeting Hezbollah militants, raising the potential for serious conflict to its highest level since the 2006 war. Over the past few years, Hezbollah and Israel have both worked to improve their capabilities for the type of war they expect to fight, and although after this event both sides are signalling that they are not interested in further escalation at the moment, future dealings could rapidly result in all-out-fighting.
Since the second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah has vastly expanded the size and range of its rocket and missile arsenal, and are estimated to have over 100,000 rockets and missiles, including a number of long-range systems as well as systems with improved accuracy. It is also believed that Hezbollah have made improvements in its capabilities, including air defence and coastal defence, with systems acquired through or from Syria.
Hezbollah is a radical Shi’a Islamist terror group based in Lebanon, proscribed by the U.S.,
Canada, Australia, the Arab League and Israel as a terrorist organisation. The EU has blacklisted the group’s military wing.
The IDF have also improved their capabilities dramatically since 2006, including enhanced intelligence and strike firepower, ground manoeuvre capabilities by using more advanced and capable tanks, armoured personnel carriers and equipping key armoured units with the Trophy self-protection system. In addition to this, Israel have developed the Iron Dome system which did not exist in 2006, and has been successfully tested in recent conflicts with Hamas.