Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Monday that recent events in Israel are an indication that the country is nearing its end — apparently referring to internal strife over the government’s plans for a major overhaul of the judiciary.
Nasrallah also warned that a proposed Israeli law to impose the death penalty for terrorists convicted in deadly attacks will only encourage further assaults.
Nasrallah spoke via video in an address to his followers that mostly focused on internal Lebanese politics.
“Everything that is happening in Israel is among the signs of the end of this entity,” said Nasrallah, whose own country is in the midst of a years-long devastating economic and leadership crisis.
His comments came as they Ynet news site reported that IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi has been warning behind closed doors that the growing phenomenon of reservists threatening not to report for duty — in protest of the government’s judicial overhaul plan — could harm Israeli deterrence.
Halevi has told his subordinates that he believes accepting such instances of reserve duty refusal will lead to other soldiers using the same excuse under different political circumstances, Ynet said.
The IDF chief believes that it will be best to internally handle reservists refusing to report for duty, rather than launching a public campaign against them, the report said. Moreover, he currently prefers to deal with the issue without threatening punitive measures against the protesters, convinced that doing so will only lead to the phenomenon’s expansion.
In his speech, Nasrallah claimed that the death sentence law, being pushed by the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, will increase the motivation of Palestinians to carry out attacks.
“Any time your enemy decides to pass a law to execute prisoners, it means he is a fool,” Nasrallah declared.
“You foolish Zionists, this law will increase the courage of the Palestinian mujahideen to carry out operations,” he said.
Nasrallah also called for educating younger generations about Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, vowing that the inmates would not be left behind bars. The assault last week by marauding Israeli settlers in the West Bank Palestinian town of Huwara was, he said, an example of “Zionist brutality.”
Nasrallah said it is the threat of Hezbollah’s military might backing up the Lebanese army that enables the latter to stand up to the IDF on the border, and claimed that in recent weeks Israel has been trying to move the border by seizing meters of the Lebanese territory, but has been repelled.
He referred to a maritime border deal signed last year between Israel and Lebanon over offshore natural gas and stressed that it did not amount to any kind of normalization between the two countries that are officially at war.
Last week the Knesset approved at a preliminary reading the government-backed bill to impose the death penalty on terrorists who kill Israelis.
The legislation stipulates that courts will be able to impose the death penalty on those who have committed a nationalistically motivated murder of a citizen of Israel.
Also last week, hundreds of settler extremists rioted in the Palestinian town of Huwara in retribution for a terror attack that killed two Israelis earlier in the day in the same town. Radical settlers burned homes, cars, and storefronts, and assaulted Palestinians, leading to scores of injuries and the death of a Palestinian man in unclear circumstances.
The Israeli government is pushing ahead with legislation that will significantly restrict the power of the High Court of Justice to block laws. The move has sparked significant backlash including mass protests against the measures.
Two weeks ago Nasrallah also commented on the developments, picking up on remarks from President Isaac Herzog, who warned that Israel risked being torn apart if the government and opposition fail to engage in dialogue to reach a compromise.