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Bezalel Smotrich

Smotrich: If Hezbollah Doesn’t Withdraw from Border, IDF Must Take Southern Lebanon

Israel should not shy away from launching a military takeover of southern Lebanon if Hezbollah does not withdraw from the border, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich declared Sunday, May 19, becoming the latest minister to publicly challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the handling of the conflict on Israel’s northern and southern borders.

Speaking at a faction meeting of his far-right Religious Zionism party held, unusually, in northern Israel, Smotrich demanded that Netanyahu make a clear announcement of a plan to deal with the Iran-backed terror group, saying that if necessary, Hezbollah must be dealt with through military action.

“A public ultimatum must be issued to Hezbollah that they completely stop firing and withdraw all forces to beyond the Litani River,” said Smotrich, who also serves as a minister in the Defense Ministry.

Promoting a plan reminiscent of Israel’s security zone in southern Lebanon in the years following the First Lebanon War in 1982, Smotrich warned, “If the ultimatum is not fully met, the IDF will launch an assault deep in Lebanese territory to defend the northern communities, including ground entry and Israeli military takeover of the southern Lebanese area.”

“The way to bring the [evacuated] residents home to the north is through a military decision with a devastating assault on Hezbollah, its infrastructure, and the destruction of its power,” he said. (TOI / VFI News)

“On this mountain He will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove His people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.” - Isaiah 25:7-8