Lebanon has many problems, including sectarian divisions, Iranian influence, spillover from the Syrian civil war, the weakness of its army, the ineffectiveness of its politicians, and the very existence of Hizballah, but Israel’s existence next door is not one of them.
The animosity of Lebanon towards Israel continues today only because it provides a convenient excuse for Hizballah to maintain a formidable arsenal that it uses to control Lebanon and to help its allies in Syria.
Lebanon has a law forbidding its citizens from interacting with Israeli citizens. As Michael J. Totten wrote:
“Lebanese citizens aren’t allowed to have any communication of any kind with Israelis anywhere in the world. If citizens of the two countries meet, say, on a beach in Cyprus or in a bar in New York, the Lebanese risks prison just for saying hello.”
The Lebanese online news source NOW explains that law in detail. Even a dual citizen (of Lebanon and Canada for example) could be jailed for interacting in the most innocuous way with an Israeli.
The Lebanese delegation, for example, recently refused to share a bus with the Israeli delegation at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, prompting the Israeli minister of culture and sports to describe the incident as, “anti-Semitism, pure and simple, and the worst kind of racism.” The incident was, however, hardly surprising, considering the history of Lebanese animosity towards Israel.
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