Minefield land mines Golan Heights 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel moved a step closer toward ridding the country of land mines Sunday after
the government allocated NIS 60 million to clear minefields along the
The Defense Ministry, which established a special administration
to oversee the removal of the mines, said it has hired a civilian company that
will begin work south of the Dead Sea and along the border with Jordan in the
The ministry said thousands of mines would be removed and
destroyed by the end of year. It also said the minefields were not necessary to
protect Israel today and they were placed there decades ago either by the IDF or
the Syrian military.
Ervin Lavie, head of the administration, said there
were 12,950 hectares (32,000 acres) of land in Israel known or suspected of
being minefields. Defense officials have said there are several hundred thousand
land mines throughout the country.
Last February, the Knesset passed a
landmark bill that paved the way for Sunday’s decision to begin removing the
The bill was spurred by the story of Daniel Yuval, a 12-year-old
boy who lost his leg to one such mine a year ago this week while playing in the
snow on the Golan Heights. The bill is named after him.