For years, Israelis viewed Arab rhetoric as empty threats. Palestinian terrorist groups threatened with "mega-attacks", Saddam Hussein promised that half of Israel will burn like a dry fig leaf, Nasrallah told Israel to "bring it on", and so on and so forth. It was widely understood and accepted that the lion roar will turn into a mouse squeak.
Now it seems the Israeli government has adopted the same farcical strategy. Minutes after Gilad Shalit was kidnapped in Gaza, government officials threatened that life in Gaza will become unbearable. Today the Chief of Staff, speaking after the disastrous events in the north, warned that Lebanon would be set back "twenty years" if the kidnapped soldiers are not promptly returned. Not only Israelis, but sadly also most of the Arab world, know that these are nothing but empty threats.
It is time for Israel's government to put its actions where its mouth is, or else shut up.