Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Lebanese organization, has been on the U.S. State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations since October 1997. The structure of the Shia Islamist group is embodied by military, political, and educational components … and due to its location north of Israel – not to mention its arsenal of missiles – Hezbollah's activities have been a threat to peace in the region for decades.
Israel's Alma Research and Education Center recently analyzed a sample of 470 education activities published between 2012 and 2018 on Hezbollah's official website. According to Alma's director of research, Tal Beeri, the "values of jihad and martyrdom comprised almost 40% of [the terror group's] educational activities."
The former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intelligence officer describes jihad as "the duty of every Muslim to uphold the laws of Islam." But terrorists have expanded this duty to include engaging in "a holy war with infidels," he says, explaining that "infidels are those who do not practice Islam or belong to their particular faction."
Beeri doesn't believe this was the original intention of the religion of Islam, but contends that groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS, and others "have turned jihad into terrorism." And dying while engaged in jihad means they die as a "martyr," he explains.
"This extreme version of Islam encourages death and destruction – and sadly," he continues, "many Muslim extremists have felt obligated to attack innocent civilians in Israel to fulfill this obligation to wage war against the Jewish people, believing that if they were slain in the process, they would become a martyr."
Beyond its 'educational' outreach …
All the while, Hezbollah continues to build up its military, Beeri notes. Toward that end, the Lebanese television station Al-Manar – owned and operated by Hezbollah – aired a report about Hezbollah's military buildup on June 22. That television report expressed that "every new day is an opportunity to increase [Hezbollah's] power," adding that "the arsenals of the resistance hold 40 years' worth of [military] buildup." It also claimed that "[Hezbollah] has become stronger than ever before."
Beeri attests to this fact, stating that Hezbollah has a "massive rocket arsenal." The former intel officer points out that Hezbollah currently possesses several hundred advanced conventional weapons, up to 70,000 missiles and rockets, almost 150,000 different kinds of mortars, and approximately 2,000 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).