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Threat. Iranian missile test (archives) Photo: AP
Threat. Iranian missile test (archives) Photo: AP

Defense establishment: Iran No.1 threat to Israel

IDF chief presents defense minister with military's work plan for 2009, says Tehran near-nuclear capabilities, existing ballistic aptitude and terror contacts pose 'existential threat' to Israel

Alex Fishman
Published: 02.16.09, 09:38 / Israel News

The defense establishment has recently declared, for the first time in years, that the State of Israel is under an "existential threat."


The Israeli Defense Forces' annual work plan for 2009 officially defines Iran as "a threat to Israel's existence," with all that implies from it - training, equipment and preparation-wise.


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In the outline of the plan, presented to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi defines the Iranian peril as "the No.1 threat the IDF is now preparing for."


The threat, which consists of Tehran's nearly-obtained nuclear capabilities, existing ballistic aptitude and proven emissary-fighting, in the form of funding Hamas, Hizbullah and other terror groups, clouds all of the military's other plans for the work year.


Faced with a credible threat, the IDF stands to focus on investing funds in its strategic aerial capabilities, especially developing remote-piloted vehicle and unmanned aerial vehicle, as well as infrastructural investments in intelligence and communications systems.


The IDF also stands to increase ground forces' training, both in the regular army and for reserve forces.


The onset of 2009 marks the second year in the military's perennial Tefen Program, launched as part of the Brodet Report, which reviewed the defense establishment's budget.


The report indicated a NIS 1.5 billion (approximately $369.4 million) budget deficiency, as well as concerns as to the home front's readiness. The funds to remedy the situation are supposed to be allotted via the various government bureaus, but the financial crisis enveloping Israel has clouded the entire program's future.


Meanwhile, the Iranian news agency Fars reported Sunday that Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar announced Tehran would be upgrading its military ties with Russia in the near future.


According to the report, Najjar is scheduled to arrive in Moscow on Monday, where he will meet his Russian counterpart, Anatoliy Eduardovich Serdyukov. The two will reportedly discuss future defense contracts. 


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