The head of the Hezbollah terror group gloated that Israel was on the “path to disappearance” as chaotic demonstrations by opposition activists protesting the passage of the first judicial overhaul law wracked the nation on Monday.
“Israel was once thought of as a regional power that can’t be beaten, and regional countries accepted its threat as a fact that can’t be removed,” Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised address marking the seventh day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, days ahead of the major Shiite festival of Ashura, according to media reports.
He added that “its trust, awareness and self-confidence have deteriorated into the crisis it is experiencing today.”
Nasrallah, whose own country has been mired in years of devastating political bedlam and has seen its own spasms of protests, branded Monday Israel’s “worst” day since the state’s creation.
“This day, in particular, is the worst day in the history of the entity, as some of its people say. This is what puts it on the path to collapse, fragmentation and disappearance, God willing,” he said.
The government enacted its “reasonableness” law on Monday, which bars the courts from reviewing politicians’ decisions based on their “reasonableness,” despite sustained mass protests, opposition by many top judicial, security, economic and public figures, and over 10,000 IDF reservists saying they will suspend their voluntary duty in protest.
Chaos erupted on the streets after the vote, with police clashing with thousands of protesters blocking major highways in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and around the country.
Many observers and opposition members have lamented that the issue has divided society in a way that will be difficult to overcome, and top military officials have said the damage done to the service model of the Israel Defense Forces will take many years to remedy.
Tensions on Israel’s border with Lebanon have spiked recently after Hezbollah set up tents on what international bodies have agreed is Israeli territory, next to the border barrier.
Israel has sought since early June to remove two tents placed by Hezbollah in the contested Mount Dov region, also known as the Shebaa Farms. One tent was removed after Israel reportedly sent a message to Hezbollah threatening an armed confrontation if it did not remove the outpost.
But two weeks ago, Nasrallah said the other tent would remain, and threatened to attack Israel if it tries to remove it.
“Israel won’t dare to take one step in the territory against the tent because it knows what will happen,” Nasrallah said at the time, marking the 17th anniversary of the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and its northern neighbor. “If there’s any harm to the tent, we won’t stay quiet.”
“The youth of the resistance have orders to act if an Israeli attack takes place on the tent,” he added.
The Mount Dov area where the tents were erected, also known as Shebaa Farms, was captured by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War and later effectively annexed along with the Golan Heights and the village of Ghajar. The Lebanese government says the area belongs to Lebanon.
While Israel and Lebanon recently concluded tough talks to demarcate a maritime frontier, the enemies have never negotiated a land border, leading to occasional skirmishes along the ceasefire line that forms the de facto border.
The boundary, known as the Blue Line, is marked with blue barrels along the border and is several meters from the Israeli fence in some areas, which is built entirely within Israeli territory.