Ashkenazi and Barak at the Knesset
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Photo: AFP
Iranian missile test
Photo: AFP
Barak: Complete missile protection near
Within years Israel will be able to defend itself against 90% of missile firing attempts, defense minister tells Knesset's State Control Committee. 'In the long run, percentage will be even higher,' he adds. Committee chairman, MK Orlev, expresses his satisfaction with minister's statements
Within a number of years Israel will be able to defend itself against 90% of missile shooting attempts, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the Knesset's State Control Committee, which convened Tuesday morning to discuss the state comptroller's scathing report on the State's handling of the home front during the war.


"In the long run, the percentage will be even higher," Barak promised.


During the discussion, Barak elaborated on the plans for missile and rocket protection.

"The joint goal is to draw the lessons in a thorough manner and create an infrastructure of information and control at an international level. There is a project which began during Amir Peretz's tenure as defense minister, to quickly build a Qassam and Katyusha interception system.


"One of the defense establishment's highest priorities is to create an interception system, so that Israel will be able to defend itself against the Qassam or the Shihab within a number of years. We need a higher interception percentage, and this is a great effort," he said.


The defense minister added that "there is a self-defense measure which is linked in part to methods of operation at times of emergency inside the existing buildings, and there is the issue of sheltering gaps. The outgoing defense minister also took care of supporting the construction of reinforced rooms by subsidizing mortgages and easing all the procedures."


The meeting was also attended by Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, Minister Ami Ayalon, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Home Front Command chief, Major-General Yitzhak Gershon, and former Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who justified the government's decision to launch the Second Lebanon War.


'Refreshing statements'

At the start of his remarks, Barak noted that the comptroller's report referred to a war which took place before he had taken office. He added that the defense establishment was now working to implement the conclusions and recommendations presented in the report.


Lieutenant-General Ashkenazi chose to praise State Comptroller Micha Lindestrauss.


"The comptroller is doing the right thing in publishing these issued while conducting his control work. We must do this quickly and strongly.


"If a local authority faces any problems, we will assist by reinforcing the Home Front Command… To my understanding, the moment we face a threat as big as the one we experienced last year, declaring a state of emergency and recruiting all the home front forces will be the right thing to do," he said.


Committee chairman, Knesset Member Zevulun Orlev (National Union-National Religious Party), concluded the discussion by expressing his satisfaction with the defense minister and chief of staff's statements.


"What we heard today was very refreshing. We believe that the defense establishment today has a plan which puts the handling of the home front in a different place. These things remain to be examined, and I am pleased with the fact that people have begun fixing the failures instead of engaging in arguments."


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