The Israeli press tends to
portray Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah as a strategic monster and a planning genius.
The bellicose threats
he makes on his own television station are repeated and analyzed in the Israeli media.
The pundits panic the public as they debate when and how
Nasrallah's threats will be carried
out. In the process, the images of Nasrallah and the Hizbullah have grown
completely out of proportion to reality.
It is important to
what the Hizbullah really is. It is a small organization with
about 7000 active members. Of these members, only a few hundred
are trained fighters. The Hizbullah is not an army and
not, at present, an existential threat to Israel. Its rockets
are damaging and frightening; after all, if the rockets hit a major target,
cause a lot of damage, including the loss of lives, as the world
has seen in the past week. But the damage of
the rockets is not something that Israel can't handle.
The Hizbullah has dug
itself heavily into southern Lebanon. It has mined and booby-trapped the approaches to
its strongholds, dug bunkers and
trenches, set up observation posts, and planned ambushes. But the
few hundred Hizbullah fighters that are manning these positions
are no match for the ability and strength of the Israel Defense
Their "legendary" motivation has never been tested,
and neither has
their fighting ability.
Nasrallah's powers as
a strategist are also not so clear. At present, he is a hunted
fugitive fleeing from bunker to bunker as Israeli planes, armed
with information given to them by local Lebanese, bomb his
hideouts. His "cobweb" theory - that the hedonistic Israelis will
not be able to withstand his terror attacks - has collapsed. His
belief that the world would not allow Israel to attack his bases
in Lebanon has proved wrong, as has his expectation that Syria and Iran
would support him.
The Hizbullah is
potentially dangerous. Nuclear weapons could
fall into the hands of Nasrallah, who, like Iran, is mad enough to use them.
To prevent that from happening, the Hizbullah must be stopped and disarmed. But in order to do
that, the Israeli public first must put the situation back in proportion and cut
the Hizbullah down to its true size.