By Ben Sales
November 30, 2023
(JTA) — In a speech on Friday, the head of the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah did not announce that the group would escalate its conflict with Israel, though he hinted that it may in the future.
The speech by Hassan Nasrallah appeared to forestall the possibility, at least at present, that Israel’s war against the Hamas terror group in Gaza would expand into a two-front fight. Hezbollah is a larger group than Hamas, and Israelis have worried that the country would face war on both its northern and southern borders if Hezbollah decided to bring all of its firepower to bear.
“Some would like Hezbollah to engage in an all-out war, but I can tell you: What is happening now along the Israeli-Lebanese border is significant, and it is not the end,” he said, according to the Times of Israel. It was his first address since the Israel-Hamas war began and was broadcast to audiences via video.
Since Hamas’ invasion of Israel on Oct. 7, Hezbollah has fired missiles at Israel, leading to repeated cross-border fights. Tens of thousands of Israelis have evacuated the country’s north as a result. Hezbollah and Israel last fought a war in 2006.
“Some claim Hezbollah is about to join the fray. I tell you: We have been engaged in this battle since October 8,” he said.
Both Hamas and Hezbolah are funded by Iran. Israel and the United States have both warned Iran and Hezbollah to stay out of the fight, with the United States moving aircraft carriers into the region as a warning. Nasrallah said such steps “will not scare us.”