Unconfirmed media reports on Tuesday claim that Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, tested positive for coronavirus after being infected last week after meeting a high-level delegation from Tehran in which one of the members was infected. Israeli Channel 13 reported that Nasrallah, along with several other high-ranking Hezbollah leaders, was put under quarantine as a preventative measure to ensure that he not be infected.
Officially, there are 41 individuals who have been diagnosed with coronavirus in Lebanon, but Israeli officials believe that the number is likely far higher, because of poor record-keeping and a disorganized medical system. Coincidentally, Lebanon announced its first death from Covid-19 on Tuesday.
It is believed that Nasrallah contracted the disease last month when meeting with Ali Larijani, the Speaker of the Parliament of Iran. According to Lebanese and Iranian media reports, Larijani has been since diagnosed as having been infected.
Maria Maaloof, a Lebanese journalist and political analyst, tweeted that “there is an absolute blackout on the health of Hassan Nasrallah after a visit by Larijani at the head of a delegation, when it later turned out to that one of them was infected with the virus.”
تداولت أوساط إعلامية عن إصابة #حسن_نصرالله بفيروس #كورونا بعد استقباله وفداً رفيع المستوى قادماً من طهران وذلك قبل زيارة وفد البنك الدولي الى #لبنان بأسابيع . هناك تعتيم مطلق على صحة حسن نصرالله بعد زيارة لاريجاني على رأس وفد تبين فيما بعد ان احدهم مصاباً بالفيروس #ماريا_معلوف pic.twitter.com/zabk553Shb
— Maria Maaloof (@bilarakib) March 10, 2020
It is important to note that even though there have not been any confirmed reports that Nasrallah was diagnosed or tested positive for the coronavirus, the other Hezbollah officials who, like Nasrallah, were quarantined and the Iranian officials did test positive. It is also interesting to note that Nasrallah met with Larijani almost one month ago and the symptoms of the disease appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Iran has been hard-hit but their government even more so. At least 23 members of Iran’s 290-member “Majlis” or parliament have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to Iran’s Deputy Parliament Speaker Abdul Reza Misri. This includes the deputy health minister and one of the vice presidents. This figure represents about 8% of Iran’s government. One week after elections for the parliament, the government suspended open parliamentary sessions indefinitely.
It is interesting to note that just as Haman was a foreigner who served Persian King Ahasuerus with the intention of wiping out the Jews, Nasrallah served the post-Persian Iranian government with the same intention. Haman is described in the Book of Esther as being an “Aggagi.” Midrash (Jewish tradition) teaches that Haman was a descendant of Agag, the king of the Amalekites, the eternal enemy of the Jews.
Estimates of Hezbollah’s total rocket count range from 40,000 to 150,000, which is considerably more than most countries. Hezbollah possesses limited numbers of anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles, as well as thousands of anti-tank missiles, which they are skilled at using.
Like a true son of Haman, Nasrallah was the ninth of ten children. As a young man, Nasrallah studied Islamic religion in Quom, Iran.
Though most countries classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, China remains neutral and maintains contacts with Hezbollah.