Signs mocking IDF put up along Lebanese border in apparent bid to scare troops
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Signs mocking IDF put up along Lebanese border in apparent bid to scare troops

Hebrew-language signs, likely posted by Hezbollah, refer to recent criticism heard in Israel about Ground Forces’ preparedness for war

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Signs mocking IDF Ground Forces positioned across from Lebanese border on February 12, 2019. (Screen capture: Twitter)
Signs mocking IDF Ground Forces positioned across from Lebanese border on February 12, 2019. (Screen capture: Twitter)

A number of signs mocking the Israel Defense Forces were placed on the Lebanese border on Tuesday, in the latest provocative move that appeared to have been carried out by the Hezbollah terrorist group along the volatile frontier.

The signs, written in Arabic and Hebrew, referred to the recent criticism heard in Israel concerning the IDF Ground Forces’ readiness for war, or alleged lack thereof.

“If you don’t trust your Ground Forces, who were beaten in Lebanon, you need to send them to your search-and-rescue forces. You’ll need them,” the signs read, in a somewhat stilted Hebrew.

The signs also featured photographs of Israeli soldiers crying and a tank on fire.

They were placed along the security fence where IDF troops regularly patrol and where construction of a new concrete border wall was underway.

The signs, which were reportedly placed along the border by Hezbollah, appeared to be part of a psychological warfare effort by the terror group to shake soldiers’ belief in the military. Photographs of the billboards were also shared by media outlets affiliated with the Iran-backed group.

Tensions along the Lebanese border have increased in recent months, first as Israel began the construction of a new border wall and then rising further in December, as the IDF launched an effort to find and destroy attack tunnels dug by Hezbollah into Israel from southern Lebanon.

Last week, a convoy of dozens of motorcycle-riding supporters of the Iran-backed Hezbollah drove past the border during a visit to the area by United Nations ambassadors.

The IDF at the time said the bikers, waving the terror group’s flags, were “making a mockery” of the UN resolution that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War, which required all armed groups besides the Lebanese military to remain north of the country’s Litani River. Israel has long said that Hezbollah flouts this resolution by maintaining a military presence along the border, including caches of weapons.

The most recent taunts about the lack of trust in the Ground Forces appeared to refer to a report aired on Israel’s Channel 13 news on Sunday about a scathing document written by two opposition members of Knesset, who accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “not believing in the Ground Forces.”

The report by Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah and Labor MK Omer Barlev, who lead a subcommittee of the powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, was prepared in response to dire warnings on the state of the Ground Forces and the IDF’s overall preparedness for war by former military ombudsman Maj. Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits and IDF naval base in Haifa, February 12, 2019. (Haim Tzach/PMO)

The army has rejected Brick’s assertions and maintains it is ready for war.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu warned that Israeli missiles can “confront any enemy, including the Iranian proxies in our region,” during a visit to a naval base in Haifa.

“We are constantly acting in accordance with our need to prevent Iran and its proxies from entrenching along our northern border, and in the wider region,” he said.

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