The Security Cabinet decided Sunday evening to adopt recommendations by the National Security Council (NSC) regarding regulating areas of responsibility for defense against the threat posed by drones, and improving defense strategies in the field.
It was decided the IDF and the air force would be responsible for tackling the drone threat near the borders and in the West Bank, as well as for developing technological means to counter the threat.
The Shin Bet, meanwhile, will be responsible for dealing with drones flying near sensitive installations and the police will be tasked with neutralizing drones flying elsewhere in Israel.
The Cabinet also decided that the Defense Ministry's Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (Maf'at) will serve as headquarters for developing technological countermeasures to the drone threat.
The ministers also assigned the NSC the task of interfacing with other relevant agencies—the IDF, police, Israel Airports Authority and others—and to put together a series of recommendations to regulate the drone issue.
Currently, drones require no license or permit to operate in Israel, enabling their users to constitute a risk to Israeli security by using them to commit or abet terror attacks. Such regulation is currently on the agenda of many world governments, with the United States already commencing a drone registration protocol.
The NSC has spearheaded efforts to deal with the drone issue for more than two years. This past June the Cabinet convened on the matter and debated a suggestion on how to tackle it, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stayed the discussion and instructed the Council to improve on some elements. After the improvements had been made, the suggestion was once again brought before the Cabinet.
State Comptroller Yosef Shapira published a severe report last month in which he claimed Israel has hitherto failed to tackle the threat. Shapira noted almost anyone wishing to purchase a drone may do so and then operate it anywhere, without special flight measures or prior training.
The report further maintained that the proliferation of drones in Israel's skies constitutes a security risk to the country's citizens, as the airborne objects may pose a risk to civilian aviation, for instance.
The state comptroller added enforcement measures possessed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel—both administrative and criminal—were insufficient to achieve effective enforcement of the Aviation Law vis-à-vis drone operators.