This means war, says Ben Gvir after fatal rocket attack from Lebanon

With typical bellicosity, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir says a rocket attack on Safed serves as a declaration of war, calling for a sea change in how Israel manages the balance of power on the Lebanese border.

“This is not a trickle [of rockets], it’s war. It’s time to leave behind the ‘conception’ in the north as well,” the far-right firebrand writes on X.

Ben Gvir and other hardliners have blamed Israel’s conception of Hamas as a stabilizing force in Gaza and uninterested in war as a fatal mistake that led to the October 7 massacre. While the killing spree changed Israeli thinking on Hamas, critics say that on the northern border Jerusalem has largely continued to treat Hezbollah as a rational enemy who will not go to war unless overly provoked.

Channel 12 news reports that the minister has demanded an urgent meeting with Netanyahu to discuss the escalation of violence in the north.

While nobody has claimed responsibility for the attacks this morning, most have blamed Hezbollah, thought to be the only terror group in Lebanon with the capability to barrage Safed.

Avigdor Liberman, an opposition hawk, also seems to call for a harsh response, tweeting that Israel is letting Hezbollah walk all over it.

“The red line has turned into a white flag,” he writes. “The war cabinet has caved to Hezbollah and lost the north.”

Speaking to the Kan public broadcaster, former national security adviser Yaakov Amidror says northern Israel is caught in what appears to be a managed game of tit-for-tat with the Iran-backed terror group.

“The war with Hezbollah is a conversation by fire, in which each side says to the other ‘careful, you’ve crossed a line.’ If we do something and they want to signal to us ‘stop,’ that’s one thing. If not, it’s just trying to get a rise out of us,” he tells the Kan public broadcaster.

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