MK Eyal Ben Reuven (Zionist Union), a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, on Wednesday expressed support for the IDF’s Operation Northern Shield to dismantle Hezbollah’s terrorist tunnel in northern Israel.
Ben Reuven, who was a Major General in the IDF, served as Deputy Commander of the Northern Command among his other roles.
In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Ben Reuven reminded that the IDF discovered the tunnel digging capabilities of Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, when a “city of tunnels” was discovered under one of the villages, and it was clear to the IDF and the defense establishment that Hezbollah was digging tunnels.
"Fortunately, the issue was kept highly classified. This is what makes this operation a success, because our initiative and timing came as a total surprise. Hezbollah did not know that we knew about the tunnels," he said.
"There is no doubt that Hezbollah is surprised. It has been robbed of an ability around which it built an entire strategy to surprise the IDF and the State of Israel. However, it should be remembered that unfortunately, they have many more capabilities. Hezbollah is a bitter enemy that has been fighting in Syria for six to seven years and has accumulated experience and capabilities alongside many rockets and we will have to deal with its capabilities,” continued Ben Reuven.
As for the claims that it was possible and proper to play down the operation, and perhaps not to lead Hezbollah to a situation in which it must preserve its dignity and respond accordingly with an attack against Israel, Ben Reuven said that it is right in this context to distinguish between the IDF and the government.
"The IDF is performing well. The activity is mainly engineering activity consisting of a military operation with a lot of intelligence and a lot of forces that need to be prepared for various possibilities. The IDF said it is launching an operation. The prime minister, unfortunately, took it a little too far to a place where 'everyone is against us' and intimidation. Yesterday, we saw the prime minister standing next to the chief of staff who wanted to maintain the normal routine, while the prime minister spoke about the fact that ‘the unknown is greater than what is known’ and sentences like that which lead to unnecessary panic. This is an important and very correct operation that is being carried out correctly,” he said.
Ben Reuven said he was against the comments of some MKs from the opposition, who cast doubt on the practical considerations behind the operation and who believe that political considerations were involved in the decision to launch the operation.
"I do not say that and I object to these statements. I have a lot of criticism of the prime minister, but in this matter I tend not to make accusations. The timing for this came at the recommendation of the IDF. I exclude from the discussion the issue of timing and the connection to the investigations [against the prime minister]."