In a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee,
Kochavi said Hizbullah's role in the next Lebanese government remains
unclear. The general said Hizbullah was successful in bringing down the
government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri and finding a Sunni replacement.
But Iran was said to be restraining Hizbullah while seeking to transform
the Shi'ite militia into a veritable military. Kochavi said Hizbullah's
military role, which has eclipsed the Lebanese Army, would not allow it to
play a leading role in the next government.
"It's unclear if Hizbullah will take power in Lebanon because it
understands this goes against its own self interest, as the position has
innate limitations," Kochavi said on Jan. 25. "Hizbullah has learned from
Hamas that there are many limitations once you are in power."
Hizbullah has been rebuilding its armed forces throughout Lebanon.
Officials said Hizbullah has amassed a missile and rocket arsenal of more
than 50,000 and trained a force of about 20,000 fighters.
"The transport of weaponry from Syria to Hizbullah in Lebanon has
become a true production line," Kochavi said.
The intelligence chief said Teheran has turned Hizbullah into the arm of
the Iranian military along the border with Israel. Kochavi said Iran was
advancing in its nuclear weapons program and could build a bomb within two
"This timetable doesn't refer to a nuclear explosive in the form of a
missile; that will take longer," Kochavi said. "That is a matter of a few
more years. But we must take it into consideration that a nuclear weapon
does not have to come in the form of a missile."
Kochavi said Iran has acquired the expertise to make a nuclear weapon.
So far, he said, the Iranian leadership has not decided to assemble atomic
"The question isn't when Iran is going to have a bomb, rather how long
it'll take Iran's leader to decide to use the tools to make one and turn the
centrifuges on to 90 percent production," Kochavi said.