Israeli military rabbi says Gaza war 'happiest month' of his life, wants Lebanon annexed

Israeli military rabbi says Gaza war 'happiest month' of his life, wants Lebanon annexed
An Israeli military rabbi has received backlash after claiming Gaza and Lebanon belonged to Israel, as he expressed elation over Israel's war on Gaza that has so far killed over 10,000 people.
3 min read
06 November, 2023
Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah have been engaged in cross-border clashes since 7 October [Getty]

An Israeli military rabbi has expressed his joy over Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip that has killed nearly 10,000 people, vowing Israel would annex not just Gaza but Lebanon too.

In a speech made to Israeli soldiers over the weekend, Captain Amichai Friedman said that with the exception of Israelis who have so  far been killed, wounded or taken hostage by Hamas, the past month had been the "happiest" of his life, to cheers and applause from the audience.

"Because we reached a point where the people of Israel levelled up. We are finally understanding who we are," he told troops, claiming that questions about Israel’s identity were finally "being answered".

Video of his speech went viral on Sunday, with many outraged viewers saying it represented true Zionist expansionist ambitions for the region.

Translation: "The land is all Israel's, including Gaza and Lebanon".. An Israeli officer describes the past month as the happiest month of his life.

"Another thing we are making clear these days, something more important than anything else: this land is ours. All of it. Including Gaza. Including Lebanon. The entire Promised Land. We’re going to come back big time," Friedman continued in his address to the soldiers.

"Gush Katif is tiny compared to what we will reach," Friedman added, referring to the bloc of 17 Israeli settlements in the southern Gaza Strip evacuated in 2005 when Israel withdrew from the territory.

The Israeli army said it had summoned Friedman for questioning, "disavowing" his remarks.

Since 7 October, Israel has relentlessly pounded the besieged Gaza Strip, with close to 10,000 people confirmed killed including some 4,000 children.

Israel has said its bombardment was in retaliation to Hamas' surprise attack on southern Israel, and has vowed to dismantle the Palestinian group.

Hamas killed hundreds of Israelis in the attack and took more than 200 others hostage, some of whom have been killed in Israeli airstrikes or released.

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Friedman’s warnings to Lebanon have reignited fears that clashes along the Israeli-Lebanese border could further escalate. The video was being shared widely hours before Israeli hit a car carrying civilians in southern Lebanon on Sunday night, killing three children and their grandmother.

Since 7 October, Israel has traded fire with Iran-backed Hezbollah along the border. Although the hostilities have remained limited to the border region, there are concerns that it could spread.

Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000 after a 22-year presence in the country. Its military had first intervened in Lebanon in 1978 - a few years after the start of the Lebanese civil war - and carried out a full-scale invasion in 1982.

Hezbollah claims that it is essential for it to keep its arsenal of weapons to protect Lebanon from Israeli assault.