Aharon Haliva at The Herzliya Conference, May 22, 2023

The head of the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Division, Major General Aharon Haliva, was interviewed Monday evening at the Herzliya Conference of Reichman University's Institute for Policy and Strategy and said that if Nasrallah and Hezbollah try to carry out even a small attack on Israeli civilians, it will lead to a big mistake and war.

General Haliva hinted that contrary to the public feeling that the dramatic events in the northern border are over, Nasrallah is still looking for a confrontation. "In my understanding, Nasrallah is close to making a mistake that could degenerate the region into a major war," Haliva said. "The likelihood of escalation that could lead to war is not low. Using measured and calculated force, out of Israel's national interest, is the way to deal with this while strengthening alliances in the region. It is important to demonstrate military strength and take advantage of opportunities so that Israeli strength is not only military but national and wholesome."

Regarding the Iranian threat, the head of the IDF’s intelligence units said that "Iran is a real threat to Israel, and the confrontation has become direct. They are parked in many surrounding fields. In our estimation, no decision has been made in Iran to act with nuclear weapons, neither in further enrichment nor in the development of weapons, but there is preparation for the day when the Iranian leader or his successor will make this decision. We have our eyes open to Iran, and it is important to signal our readiness for this at any moment."

Relating to the new connections that Israel is making in the Middle East, Haliva added that "Israel needs to examine its position in the region in depth. Israel is a regional power, and it needs to continue to take advantage of its assets in the entire region." Regarding the normalization vis-à-vis the Arab countries, General Haliva said: "Israel's peace agreements, and the Abraham Accords, are of supreme strategic importance in every parameter related to the national security of the State of Israel."

Meanwhile, a Hamas official who was interviewed by Palestinian media warned that the reason they did not join the Jihad in the most recent round of fighting, was because they are planning something far bigger. "If Hamas had entered [the fighting], the campaign would have turned into a war. A war that would be different. Every year Israel engages us in a campaign in an attempt to eliminate the capabilities of the resistance. Today we are preparing for a strong campaign, and it is impossible to enter a war every day that will exhaust our social and military strength."

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