Photo Credit: Pixabay / Peggy Marco
ATM (illustrative)

Israelis are gearing up for what appears to be the inevitable “Big One”: an open war in the north with Lebanon’s Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, which has one of the largest and most advanced military forces in the region. Lebanon’s official army doesn’t come close, although it has long been suspected there is deep cooperation between the two.

“Following an IDF situational assessment, it was decided to increase manpower and draft reserve soldiers to the IDF Aerial Defense Array,” Israel’s military announced Wednesday night in a brief statement.


On Thursday morning, another announcement was made: “In accordance with the situational assessment, it has been decided that leave will be temporarily paused for all IDF combat units. The IDF is at war and the deployment of forces is under continuous assessment according to requirements.”

Israeli media reported late Wednesday night that vacation for all pilots and air defense units have been cancelled, adding the IDF is preparing to defend against a possible Iranian drone or ballistic missile attack on Israel.

“In addition, it was announced that the IDF increased the level of vigilance in the northern arena and around the city of Eilat – with an emphasis on the air control and air defense units. Soldiers and officers in the reserves who were already deployed at the beginning of the war in Order 8, recently received messages and phone calls to check availability for deployment and reinforcement,” Walla! News reported Thursday morning.

Officials in the Dan region — which includes Tel Aviv and surrounds — are also mulling the possibility of opening public shelters in light of the Iranian threats, Walla! reported. In the Mediterranean coastal city of Bat Yam, officials are preparing to convert underground parking lots into bomb shelters for residents living in old buildings who have no safe rooms (“Mamads”) in their apartments or shelters in the building.

Israeli media are also reporting that the Bank of Israel has also quietly informed the country’s banks to fill their ATMs, “because people will stock up on cash.”

“The Bank of Israel updated the banks Wednesday (to fill the ATMs) in connection with the expected campaign of the Home Front Command and the possible escalation in the north, which is expected to increase soon, probably due to concerns the fighting may cause a higher than usual demand for cash,” the Hebrew-language Israel Hayom site reported.

But the IDF swiftly took steps to reassure Israelis that Armageddon is not yet upon the state, saying there are no special instructions for civilians, and educational and recreational activities can continue to be held as normal.

“The directives of the Home Front Command remain unchanged. There is no need to buy generators, store food and withdraw money from ATMs,” IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari said in a statement on Thursday.

“As we have done until today, we will immediately update any change, in an official and orderly manner.”

The decisions followed threats by Iran to “punish” Israel for an air strike in Damascus on Monday that eliminated two top Quds Force generals who were responsible for Iranian military activities in Syria and Lebanon, along with five of their advisers.

The Iranian forces were killed in a surgically perfect targeted assassination that destroyed a building adjacent to the Iranian Embassy in Damascus.

In accordance with government policy, Israel has not commented on the strike, other than to say the targeted building is believed to be an Iranian military site, not a diplomatically-protected consulate and ambassador’s residence as Tehran has claimed.

Hezbollah has also recently been publicly declaring its solidarity with the goal of its patron, Iran, to annihilate the Jewish State.

The Israel Defense Forces have been gradually increasing their defensive responses to attacks on Israel by Hezbollah, and have recently also begun to start offensive actions as well.

Last month, the IDF inaugurated a new northern Mountain Brigade, the first such move since the start of the October 7 war by Hamas, will operate in a unique area in the north along the borders of Lebanon and Syria. The force will be responsible for covering Mount Hermon, the highest mountain on which the IDF operates in the northernmost parts of Israel.

Operating across the northern mountains requires specialized gear, vehicles and training; the area is located between Syria and Lebanon, extending to the area around Mount Dov, which lies southwest of Hermon on Lebanon’s southern border. The new brigade is operating under the command of the 210th Division and is a consolidation of Israeli forces in the north.

During a Home Front readiness drill on Tuesday in the Haifa district, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant emphasized, “Israel is increasing preparedness, and at the same time we are also expanding our operations against Hezbollah, against other bodies that threaten us. We are striking our enemies all over the Middle East.”


Previous articleCalifornia’s Pitzer College Suspends Israel Study Abroad Program
Next articleKnowledge and Wisdom
Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.