For these and other reasons, lapses in deterrence are cause for concern and require strengthening and reinforcement. Specifically, in the face of ongoing threats from the Iranian regime and its proxies, including Hamas in Gaza, Israeli responses fall short. Against calls to wipe “the Zionist entity off the map,” a series of pinpoint and anonymous attacks attributed to the Mossad have not stopped Tehran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. And in Lebanon, under the eyes of the UN and the so-called international community, Hezbollah acquired and deployed tens of thousands of rockets and missiles stored in civilian areas and aimed at the Israeli population. This force is the forward arm of the Iranian threat.
Sixteen years ago, in 2006, the IDF did a good job of restoring deterrence after Hezbollah killed a number of soldiers and snatched two bodies to hold for ransom. The IDF launched what was termed as a “disproportionate” response that lasted for five weeks, and included intense bombing of the Hezbollah stronghold under the streets of Beirut, but ended without a decisive knock-out. But since then, Israel has allowed the terror proxy to rebuild and expand its arsenal of deadly missiles, resulting, at best, in an unstable situation of mutual deterrence which the leaders of Iran and Hezbollah could decide to disrupt at any time. And if Iran crosses the nuclear finish line, it will be even more difficult for Israel to neutralize this deadly force.