Israel's enemies, including Hezbollah, has 200,000 rockets and missiles pointed at Israel, Homeland Defense Minister Gilad Erdan said Tuesday at the Israel’s Perils and Prospects conference aat Bar Ilan University.
A rocket and missile protection program will be set up within three months for around 30 percent of Israel’s population that remains vulnerable to such attacks, he added
Around 30 percent of Israel’s population is vulnerable to attacks Erdan said that in any IDF scenario of a full-scale war, the Israeli home front will be pounded by thousands of rockets for up to three weeks, and that every point in the country could be targeted by Hezbollah.
“One out of every 10 homes in Lebanon has a rocket launcher or weapons stored in it,” Erdan said. “They plan homes there so that the roof opens up and closes for rocket launchers to fire.”
Moreover, Hezbollah’s accurate missile stockpile is growing, and the terror organization will seek to target the most painful places for Israel, such as national infrastructure sites, natural gas facilities, electricity production centers, and other installations “we all need to function continuously,” Erdan warned.
“Our enemies want to break the spirit of Israelis, and get them to stop believing that we can have a normal life here,” he added. He said the level of the threat called for a radically new way of thinking on how to repel it on the civilian life. Paying tribute to the IDF’s offensive and active defense capabilities, Erdan said that civilians remained exposed nonetheless.
“We need to create a mechanism to allow the continuous functionality of the home front, and not to return to scenes of the Second Lebanon War of 2006,” Erdan said. “No other country is facing the threat we are today,” he added.
Currently, Erdan said, an inter-ministerial committee is working on a plan to ensure that basic commodities reach civilians in wartime, and that safe zones for people living in 650,000 unprotected homes are created.
“This is an intolerable gap... we need to set up an infrastructure,” he said, hinting that the measures will be mandatory, like car safety features.
“This will be no less than a revolution. We have to set minimal standards for protection,” Erdan said.
Earlier in the conference, Giora Eiland, former head of the National Security Council and a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies, said that Israel should reject the idea that it must fight against terrorist guerrilla organizations embedded in civilian areas, and return to the idea that it is fighting enemy states. This, he said, would add to Israeli deterrence and cut short any future conflicts.
“In 2006, we tried to do something impossible by hitting rocket launchers. If tomorrow there’s a third Lebanon war, the result will be worse if we try to do the same thing. We and Hezbollah have improved tactically. The result will be damage to us that is so big that we’ll be unsure we accomplished anything the day after the dust settles,” he cautioned.
The path to a clear victory lies in defining the state in which the enemy operates as the enemy. “Just doing this will deter them.
Hezbollah, Syria, nor Iran, nor the Americans want to see destruction of Lebanon. If war does break out, treating Lebanon as an enemy would end the conflict in three days, not three weeks,” he said.
This entails bombing bridges and other state-affiliated targets, though staying clear of civilian sites like schools and hospitals, he stressed.
“It’s not right for us to accept the idea of fighting low-intensity counter-terrorism conflicts. We should move to an interstate conflict system,” Eiland argued.
The model applies equally well to Gaza, which, since Hamas seized power there, has become a “state in every way.
It has borders, a central government, armed forces. We’ll get our advantage back by making this shift,” he said.