Propaganda activity at the school: the son of Hezbollah shaheed Jamil Hussein Faqih displaying objects related to his father as part of the Shaheed Day 2020 activity at the Al-Mahdi School in Bint Jbeil (Facebook page of the Al-Mahdi School in Bint Jbeil, November 11, 2020).
The yard of Al-Mahdi School in Bint Jbeil (Arch Consulting website).
The entrance to Martyr Salah Ghandour Hospital in Beit Jabil. Below the Islamic Health Organization logo, there is a picture of the shaheed Salah Ghandour, who was killed in a car bomb blast in the Bint Jbeil area (Facebook page of the Martyr Salah Ghandour Hospital, November 27, 2019).
Martyr Salah Ghandour Hospital in Bint Jbeil (Facebook page of Martyr Salah Ghandour Hospital, October 8, 2019).
Overview of the city of Bint Jbeil (photo from 2002) (Arabic Wikipedia entry on “Bint Jbeil”)
The government office building in the city of Bint Jbeil (Bint Jbeil Municipal Association website)
Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah delivering his so-called Spider Web speech in Bint Jbeil in May 2000 (Al-Ahed newspaper, September 7, 2018)
The establishment of the “resistance society” by Hezbollah
Cover of the book “The Resistance Society” (2008) by Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem (Sheikh Naim Qassem’s official website)
- The extensive civilian infrastructure established by Hezbollah with Iran’s funding has created a sort of a “mini-state within a state” among Lebanon’s Shiite population, in which the residents need Hezbollah’s social services and economic assistance while Hezbollah itself enjoys a decisive influence on the daily lives of the population. At the same time, the civilian infrastructure supports Hezbollah’s extensive military infrastructure. It also creates a large pool of recruits for it, Shiite youths who have been indoctrinated since childhood by the radical Shiite ideology of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, who are destined to become the next generation of Hezbollah operatives to fight against Israel.
- This document is the first in a series of studies examining the scope and conduct of Hezbollah’s civilian institutions and the extent of their influence on the local population (for a list of the ITIC’s publications about Hezbollah’s civilian institutions, see Appendix). As a case study, the ITIC chose several main cities and the rural areas surrounding them in the three main Shiite population regions: southern Lebanon, the southern suburb of Beirut (Dahieh), and the Bekaa Valley.
- In each of these three population centers, the activity of Hezbollah’s civilian institutions will be examined in comparison with that of Lebanese government institutions or other Shiite organizations operating in cooperation with Hezbollah (Amal and Shiite organizations which are not affiliated with Hezbollah). Bint Jbeil, a large Shiite city located near the border with Israel, was chosen as the first case study.
- Following are the findings of an examination of Hezbollah’s civilian institutions in the city of Bint Jbeil:
- In the 20 years since the IDF withdrew from the security zone, Hezbollah has established a significant infrastructure of social institutions providing a wide range of services to the population of Bint Jbeil and the surrounding rural area. Hezbollah’s two most prominent areas of activity in Bint Jbeil are education and health, two areas which are dominated by the organization:
- In the education sector, the Hezbollah-owned Al-Mahdi School is worthy of note. It is the biggest educational institution operating in the city (971 students) and comprises a kindergarten, an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school. Its level of education appears to be reasonable (in the sciences it is even high). The studies of some students are fully or partially subsidized (subsidies are given, inter alia, to the children of shaheeds or jihad fighters and to students who have memorized all or half of the Quran).
- In the healthcare sector, one noteworthy institution is Martyr Salah Ghandour Hospital, which belongs to Hezbollah’s Islamic Health Organization. The Islamic Health Organization also operates the Musa Abbas Medical Center, which provides residents with complementary services (physiotherapy, nutrition, dentistry and pharmacy). These are the two most prominent medical institutions in Bint Jbeil and its environs. Their medical services receive an indirect subsidy (such as discounts on medical treatments on Shaheed Day, on the anniversary of the IDF’s withdrawal from Lebanon and on other holidays and anniversaries taken from Shiite Islam or from the Hezbollah battle legacy). There are also medical institutions of the Lebanese government and other Shiite organizations in Bint Jbeil, but they cannot compete with the medical services provided by Hezbollah.
- Beyond these two main areas of activity, Hezbollah’s other civilian institutions also have branches in Bint Jbeil, providing services to the population in their areas of expertise. Bint Jbeil has a branch of Hezbollah’s women’s organization; a branch of the Al-Qard al-Hasan Association, which carries out semi-banking activity; Jihad al-Bina activity; Sports Mobilization activity and extensive cultural, religious and propaganda activity. In addition, Hezbollah has influence over the municipal government (in the last election in 2016, Hezbollah and Amal’s joint Loyalty and Development Party won in Bint Jbeil).
- Institutions run by other Shiite organizations also operate in the city of Bint Jbeil. Prominent among these organizations are the institutions of the Amal movement, institutions run by the son of Sayyid Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah (a senior Shiite cleric who played an important role in shaping the radical Shiite movement in Lebanon) and Shiite institutions affiliated with Hezbollah and Iran (the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee, and the Ahl al-Bayt Religious College (Hawza)). On the other hand, the presence and civilian activity of the Lebanese government in Bint Jbeil is sparser and cannot counterbalance the intensive activity of Hezbollah and other Shiite entities.
The structure of the study
- Part One: The city of Bint Jbeil: Overview.
- Part Two: Hezbollah’s civilian institutions in Bint Jbeil and the extent of their impact on the local population:
- Educational institutions
- Training adolescents and instilling radical Shiite ideology
- Healthcare services
- The women’s organization
- Semi-banking institution (Al-Qard al-Hasan)
- Jihad al-Bina
- The Sports Mobilization
- Municipal activity
- Cultural, religious and propaganda activity
- Welfare services
- Operating a gas station that belongs to Hezbollah’s chain of gas stations
- Appendix: The ITIC’s publications on Hezbollah’s civilian infrastructure (February 2019 – December 2020)
 “Resistance Society” is a term coined by Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem in his book: “The Resistance Society: The Will of Shahada [i.e., self-sacrifice, the desire to be a shaheed] and the Creation of Victory.” The book was published in March 2008 by the Al-Maaref al-Hikmiyah Institute for Religious and Philosophical Studies. The 108-page book includes an in-depth theoretical explanation of the establishment of the “resistance society” and the methods used to unite Shiite society around Hezbollah’s military activity. ↑
 Over the past two years, the ITIC has published more than 20 publications about Hezbollah’s civilian institutions, their nature and sources of income. These publications are part of a project for mapping Hezbollah’s civilian infrastructure and are available (in Hebrew and English) on the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center’s website. ↑