A senior Israeli minister said Wednesday Israel will wreak havoc on Lebanon if Israel is drawn into another war with Hezbollah.
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Addressing a large gathering of Christian broadcasters in Jerusalem, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Lebanon would be held accountable for any actions against Israel by Hezbollah because it had granted the Iranian-backed group legitimacy.
“If Lebanon has Hezbollah as part of its government, and it’s harboring thousands and thousands of missiles in its homes, then Lebanon is game,” Bennett said. “Its infrastructure, international airport and government facilities – it’s all game. Because if you don’t want that to happen, it doesn’t need to happen. You just dismantle this thing called Hezbollah.”
As Bennett put it, during the last war with Lebanon in 2006, the United States delivered the following message to Israel: “Hezbollah, you go get them, but don’t touch Lebanon though.”
Israel would disregard that dictate in the event of another war, Bennett said. “What I ask you to understand is that Hezbollah equals Lebanon and not ask us to do the impossible feat of tweezering out terrorists from supposedly a great, peace-loving nation,” he said.
Bennett heads the Orthodox, right-wing Habayit Hayehudi party, a key partner in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government. He is also Diaspora affairs ministers as well as education minister.
While Israel hoped to avoid a new wave of fighting on its northern border, “it’s not a crazy notion to think we might have a third Lebanon war,” Bennett said.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has also recently warned, though less bluntly, that Lebanon would not be spared if Hezbollah attacked Israel.
Bennett earned a large round of applause from the audience when he gave his position on territorial compromise with the Palestinians. “I vehemently oppose handing over any more Jewish land to Arabs. Period, “ he said.
About 100 broadcasters, representing 35 countries, are attending the first-of-its-kind Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem this week. The four-day event was organized by the Government Press Office, which operates under the Prime Minister’s Office. Most of the participants are affiliated with the strongly pro-Israel evangelical movement.