IDF assessment: Hezbollah could overrun northern Israel

Since there was too thin a force on the northern front, villages and army bases would be overrun, said a senior commander at a military seminar.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A month before the surprise Hamas invasion on October 7th, the IDF had assessed that a similar kind of Hezbollah attack would be very successful, Kan’s Reshet Bet reported Monday.

During an internal seminar at Northern Command on September 7th, the commander of the 300th Brigade told the participating officers that the military force on the ground at the Lebanese border was too thin, said the report.

Hezbollah terrorists would be able to overrun many villages and army bases and wreak havoc, he warned. A dedicated IDF force would be required to rush to the area and act as a stop-gap and rescue group until rest of the army caught up.

This, of course, is exactly what happened in the south. The difference is that by using low-tech means Hamas terrorists broke through what was deemed an impregnable border, shocking the IDF, while the scenario in the north was seemingly considered entirely possible.

The army was reportedly not as concerned as it could have been.

A few months ago, Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the commander of the Galilee Division had told the currently-outgoing head of IDF Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, that there weren’t enough troops in the north to deal with a surprise attack.

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Haliva’s reaction was to say that it was not a problem, and that if the IDF did not receive prior warning of such an assault then he and the whole General Staff could resign.

On October 7, the IDF rushed thousands of soldiers to the north even as battles raged in the towns, bases and kibbutzim Hamas and other terrorists had invaded, to stave off a possible coordinated attack by Hezbollah that would open a full-fledged, two-front war.

Haliva admitted responsibility after October 7 for Hamas catching Military Intelligence napping even after receiving several warnings from internal analysts and military observers on the border.

He resigned last month, becoming the first senior officer to do so as a result of the army’s resounding failure to protect the country from what became the deadliest day in Israeli history.

It is an open question whether Hezbollah is currently deterred from doing more than launching explosive UAVs, anti-tank missiles and rockets at Israel’s north on a near-daily basis.

This is damaging enough, as due to the danger, tens of thousands of residents have been evacuated to temporary quarters for over seven months, with their lives and livelihoods on hold.

These attacks have also killed over two dozen civilians and soldiers, and destroyed hundreds, if not thousands, of homes and businesses.

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The government knows this situation is untenable, as a country must be able to protect its citizens in their own towns to be legitimate.

In response to the Kan report, the army spokesman said, “The IDF protects the northern border while being prepared for the various scenarios against the enemy that may arise. We will not discuss battle protocol which is meant to increase preparedness for battle.”

The Israeli air force has been attacking Hezbollah military sites and personnel regularly in response to the aerial assaults, even deep inside Lebanon, and has killed more than 300 terrorists, including many senior commanders.

The army has doubled and redoubled the number of troops on the border, and publicized successful, large-scale exercises that train soldiers for an invasion of Lebanon.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has also repeatedly threatened to release the IDF’s full might against Hezbollah if it does not withdraw its forces from the border, although without follow-up this warning could be considered too stale to frighten the Iranian proxy.