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Israeli Settlers Send Warning Balloons to Lebanon: 'This Land Belongs to the Jews'

Activist says that confiscating Lebanese land is part of establishing a 'greater Israel'

Israeli Settlers Send Warning Balloons to Lebanon: 'This Land Belongs to the Jews'

A fringe Israeli group has been launching balloons into southern Lebanon, warning residents to leave their homes, asserting that the land "belongs to the Jews."

The balloons carried messages written in both Hebrew and Arabic, alongside a map of Lebanon highlighting the locations of the country’s religious sects.

Photos shared on social media depict the messages, which read, "This is Israel’s land that is owned by the Jews. You are required to evacuate immediately!"

The group behind the balloon campaign is Uri Tzafon (Awaken North), also known as the Movement for Settlement in South Lebanon. They launched the balloons last week from the Israeli settlements of Hanita and Adaamit.

Uri Tzafon is a far-right fringe organization advocating for the Israeli settlement of southern Lebanon.

Many ultra-Orthodox and other Israelis support the idea that Israel’s borders should extend beyond the occupied Palestinian territories into Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.

Uri Tzafon justifies its claims to Lebanese land by citing passages from the Bible. Deuteronomy 3:25, for example, describes Moses' plea to God to enter the Promised Land, stating, "Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan — that fine hill country and Lebanon."

[caption id="attachment_1116001" align="alignnone" width="880"] (Translation provided by Google Translate)[/caption]

In a statement quoted by The Times of Israel, the group declared, "The announcements make clear to the residents that they are in the Land of Israel, which belongs to the Jewish people, and that they are required to evacuate immediately."

Days before the balloons were sent, Uri Tzafon held an online conference featuring religious messianists advocating for the confiscation of Lebanese land and the extension of Israel’s borders.

Rabbi Elishama Cohen, a speaker at the conference, said, "You have to dream. There are many obstacles, but we will bang our heads against the wall and the wall will break. In Lebanon as well."

Yehoshua Socol, the father of a 24-year-old reservist from the settlement of Karnei Shomron, participated in a recent demonstration and cited a Biblical claim to Lebanese land. "Israel, my son, dreamed of living in Lebanon for years," he said. "This initiative started when the Holy one, blessed is he, promised us the Land of Israel. Historically, it was always ours," he explained, adding that religious Jews see it as part of a "greater Israel."

Itay Epshtain, special advisor for the Norwegian Refugee Council, condemned the group ahead of its recent meeting.

“Leaders of the settlement movement to share ‘success stories and best practice’ from Israeli settlements of the West Bank, in the hope of committing additional grave breaches of international law and fueling a regional war,” he wrote in a recent post on X. “It is abhorrent as much as a demonstration of lunacy.”

This latest round of bellicose rhetoric from Israeli settlers comes as the Israeli government is readying troops for a possible military confrontation with Lebanon.

Fighting along the Israel-Lebanon border has been ongoing since the launch of Israel’s military offensive last October, which has resulted in tens of thousands of people evacuated on both sides.

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