According to a press release from the President's office, Israel's commanders discussed with Rivlin current challenges on the border with Lebanon. Those challenges include threats from Hezbollah and "various aspects of the Syrian front." Israel shares a long northern border with both countries. Geographic dynamics, armaments and political sensibilities, Rivlin was told, mean there are significant challenges in organizing and leading the necessary forces to protect the nation.
Rivlin's briefing included a visit to the Misgav Am observation point where he was shown a military exercise. From his vantage point, Rivlin was able to see the exercise with Lebanon in view. In this context, the exercise demonstrated deployment of defensive ground forces in case of an attack.
Because of recent rocket fire from Gaza, Rivlin fielded questions about Hamas and its southern stronghold. "We will continue [to] respond promptly and firmly to any attempt to disturb the calm in the south," he said. "It is important to remember that as long as Hamas rules Gaza, its residents will continue to suffer the consequences of such disturbances."
Would he negotiate with Hamas?
"It is really not important to me with whom I speak," Rivlin replied, "but rather about what we are speaking. I have no aversion to holding negotiations with anyone who is prepared to negotiate. The question is what do they want to negotiate about. If they want to negotiate my very existence, then I would not negotiate with them."
But the biggest threat to Israel, Rivlin said, is from the north.
"The green hills and views which I have seen [here] do not deceive me; they do not deceive the citizens of Israel; and crucially, they do not deceive the Israel Defense Forces which is fully prepared."
Alluding to biblical passages from Jeremiah, Rivlin said, "I remember the words of the Prophets, ‘from the north shall come evil.’ I take these words seriously. I am greatly encouraged by our readiness, the preparedness of the IDF to face off against any evil that should come from the north.”
The reference was probably to Jeremiah 1:14. In it, God is speaking. "Out of the north the evil will break forth on all the inhabitants of the land."
Rivlin's message was clear. While the circumstances Jeremiah's prophecy are different now than in his day, today's threat from the ancient capitals of Assyria and Babylon are no less real or imminent.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 28 May 2015)