IDF briefs European ambassadors on Hezbollah, Iran

The group of ambassadors had the chance to visit an offensive tunnel, gaining a firsthand experience of the complex reality that characterizes Israel's northern front.

The group of ambassadors had the chance to visit an offensive tunnel, gaining a firsthand experience of the complex reality that characterizes Israel's northern front and the region as a whole. (photo credit: ELNET EUROPE-ISRAEL/DANIEL JANKOVIC)
The group of ambassadors had the chance to visit an offensive tunnel, gaining a firsthand experience of the complex reality that characterizes Israel's northern front and the region as a whole.
(photo credit: ELNET EUROPE-ISRAEL/DANIEL JANKOVIC)
The IDF recently hosted a visit by a dozen European ambassadors along Israel's northern border with Lebanon, aimed at influencing European perception regarding the regional threats posed by Hezbollah and Iran. 
The visit was organized by the European Leadership Network (ELNET), a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening Europe-Israel relations, ahead of the visit by President Reuven Rivlin and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi to Europe on Tuesday.
The group of ambassadors, representing key European countries including the UK, France, Belgium, Greece, Poland and the European Union, were greeted by head of the IDF Strategic Division Brig.-Gen. Oren Setter at the Biranit military base positioned on the Israeli-Lebanese border in northern Israel.
Setter stressed the importance of firmly dealing with Hezbollah while supporting the government's efforts to maintain "a sovereign, stable and thriving Lebanon within its borders.”
The ambassadors then continued to visit Zarit, a small moshav located in the Upper Galilee, adjacent to the Lebanese border. (Credit: ELNET Europe-Israel/Daniel Jankovic)The ambassadors then continued to visit Zarit, a small moshav located in the Upper Galilee, adjacent to the Lebanese border. (Credit: ELNET Europe-Israel/Daniel Jankovic)
The ambassadors then continued to visit Zarit, a small moshav located in the Upper Galilee, adjacent to the Lebanese border, where they met with commander of the IDF’s 91st Division Brig.-Gen. Shlomi Binder and heard about the ongoing operation to uncover Hezbollah terrorist tunnels. Binder stressed the tight connection between Hezbollah and Iran, and the regional threats created by that reality.
“Hezbollah endangers not only the State of Israel, but most and foremost impacts Lebanon," Binder said. "Its mission is to undermine regional stability; our mission is to protect the citizens of the North."
The group of ambassadors had the chance to visit an offensive tunnel, gaining a firsthand experience of the complex reality that characterizes Israel's northern front and the region as a whole.
"I was really surprised by what I saw, how much energy and time Hezbollah spent on something like that. You have to see it to believe it," Belgium's Ambassador to Israel Jean-Luc Bodson said.  
"As far as Iran is concerned, we in Belgium are very afraid that Iran will reach nuclear capabilities and we hope that in cooperation with the Biden administration we will be able to reach the best solution," he said after the visit.
Ahead of President of Israel Reuven Rivlin's visit to Europe, as Europe hesitates to blacklist Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization, over dozen ambassadors representing key European countries in Israel participated in a day-long program filled with strategic briefings at the country’s northern border. (Credit: ELNET Europe-Israel/Daniel Jankovic)Ahead of President of Israel Reuven Rivlin's visit to Europe, as Europe hesitates to blacklist Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization, over dozen ambassadors representing key European countries in Israel participated in a day-long program filled with strategic briefings at the country’s northern border. (Credit: ELNET Europe-Israel/Daniel Jankovic)
ELNET CEO Shai Bazak expressed the importance that the visit held on a diplomatic level, in changing the strategic perception on Iran and Hezbollah to better correspond with Israel's national security concerns.
"Today's tour reflects the growing partnership between Europe and Israel," Bazak noted. "We see European countries as key allies of Israel, especially as the global geopolitical map changes dramatically. The dialogue between Europe and Israel is at the core of ELNET's mission."
The top European visit took place as more and more countries are taking steps to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The latest European country to have designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization was Kosovo, earlier in March.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit has recently filed a request to Wikipedia to edit its article on Hezbollah to reflect its identification by 26 countries as a terrorist organization.
Israel's strategic effort to influence the European narrative and to gain its support continued Tuesday with Rivlin and Kochavi's visit to Europe.
They are expected to meet with German President Dr. Frank Walter Steinmeier, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and French President Emmanuel Macron, to discuss various strategic topics, including the definition of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and the Iranian threat.
Kochavi was one of the first Israeli officials – after Joe Biden took up the presidency in January – to come out openly against a return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal or the possibility of America entering into a new deal that appears to be only "slightly improved."
If Iran’s progress in developing advanced centrifuges and enriching uranium are not stopped, it could eventually be “only weeks” away from a nuclear bomb, he said at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) annual conference.
The US and others must maintain all sanctions and pressure because Tehran is at its weakest and closest to making real concessions, Kochavi said before his visit.
Udi Shaham contributed to this report.