‘The silent tragedy of the north’: Israel’s military escalation with Hezbollah has major implications for Canadians

fires in Metula
Forest fires burned in Metula, Israel's northernmost town, on the border with Lebanon, after Hezbollah rockets landed in the zone on June 2, 2024. (Meytal Novidomsky photo)

Since Oct. 8, Hezbollah—the Iranian-backed Shia militia in southern Lebanon—has launched thousands of rockets into northern Israeli communities, including Metula and Kiryat Shmona, which for decades have been financially supported by Canada’s Jewish community.

But Israeli air strikes that killed a senior Hezbollah commander last week have escalated the situation. Hezbollah militants subsequently launched more rockets in a single day than at any point so far during the Israel-Hamas war. Yet there have only been 28 casualties, including 18 soldiers, because for the past eight months, the border towns have sat largely empty. After Oct. 7, an estimated 60,000 Israeli residents fled or were ordered to evacuate their homes. Whole communities are now living scattered across Israel in hotels and other temporary accommodations.

While the world has focused on southern Israel and Gaza, residents of the north wonder if they will ever be able to return home, and many feel an all-out war with Hezbollah is needed in order to make it safe.

On today’s episode of The CJN Daily, we hear from locals Meytal Novidomsky of Metula, whose Canadian husband coaches one of Israel’s most successful hockey schools; Sarah Mali, director of the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA office in Israel; and philanthropist Barbara Crook, from Ottawa, chair of the Partnership2Gether twinning program between northern Israel and six Canadian Jewish communities.

What we talked about:


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine.  We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here. Hear why The CJN is important to me.