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Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Moshe Ya'alon
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg

Ya'alon: If S-300 shipment leaves, we'll know how to act

Defense minister confirms Russian missile shipment has yet to depart for Syria; says budget cuts entail less training for reserves; Lieberman: Radical axis crossed red lines

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon confirmed on Tuesday morning that the S-300 missile shipment from Russia to Syria has yet to leave for its destination.

 

He stressed that the missile shipment "is a threat, and I can testify that the deal is not making headway. The shipments have not left yet. Let's hope they won't, and if they do, we'll know how to act."

 

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Syria signed a contract to buy four S-300 systems in 2010. The deal is worth a reported $800 million. At the request of Israel, Russia postponed delivery of the first batch last year.

 

The Sunday Times reported that after the alleged Israeli raid on targets near Damascus earlier this month, the Russians were furious, and Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister, said the contract would go ahead.

 

In a conversation with reporters following a briefing in a Home Front Command base in Ramla, Ya'alon said: "The Home Front Command has drawn many lessons from the last years and is giving the populace ways to deal with wartime events.

 

"In recent years, our enemies have chosen to arm themselves with missiles and rockets. We have stood the tests, and sadly, we'll stand more tests."

 

Ya'alon also referred to reports on the cuts to the defense budget. "There are cuts and they should be withstood," he said.

 

"In the debate over the budget it was clear we're facing a tough year-and-a-half and we'll have to share the economic burden. There'll be fewer reserves calls, less training for reserve troops and less employment for servicemen."

 

Ya'alon warned against the proposed haredi conscription, and said that "When you disparage a sector and threaten to throw it to jail, it will not be integrated."

 

He said that the conscription outline was unacceptable, and that he believed the final draft will change.

 

In Tuesday's Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, MK Avigdor Lieberman referred to the Syrian crisis and to the Iranian nuclear threat, saying that "the last period is characterized by the radical axis crossing all the red lines."

 

Lieberman pointed a finger at the international community for failing to intervene in Syria. "There is no question today whether there was use of chemical weapons by Assad's forces," he said. "The massacre of 90,000 people was not answered by the international community."

 

Concerning Iran, he said: "there is no doubt that Iran is running toward a nuclear bomb. I hope we can make the right decisions."

 

Shahar Chai contributed to this report

 

 

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פרסום ראשון: 05.28.13, 12:26
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