Which defense system will be chosen to protect Israel from rockets - the biggest decision of Defense Minister Amir Peretz's career, will be made on Thursday.
This defense system will be used against Qassams from Gaza and more sophisticated rockets such as Katyushas from the north.
A special team, headed by Defense Ministry Director-General and soon to be IDF Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, has researched the possible systems and will present them to Peretz to make his decision.
Three systems have made the final cut. The first being developed in a joint effort by Israeli company Rafael Development Corporation Ltd. and an American company together with the Pentagon and uses air-to-air missiles.
The second system is also being developed by Rafael Development Corporation Ltd., this time together with the Israel Aerospace Industries.
Both these systems are not yet completely developed and will not be ready for operation for a few more years.
The American "Skyguard" laser system will also be presented to Peretz. This system is also not completely developed, but will most likely be ready for use sooner than the other two.
The cost of development and equipment is estimated at some NIS 2 billion (about USD 470 million) which does not exist in the IDF's 2007 budget, so external funds will be needed, which could cause a further delay.
Defense sources pointed out that even after the defense system is selected, fieldwork would have to be done in order to decide on the where the system would be placed and which areas should be protected.
"We must remember that our enemies do not rest and continue to develop their own threats, so we must do a very thorough job," said one of the sources.