Gov’t budgets NIS 60m. to clear minefields

Defense Ministry says a civilian company will begin work south of the Dead Sea and along the border with Jordan in the coming weeks.

January 30, 2012 05:10
1 minute read.
A minefield on the Golan Heights

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 borders.

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 coming weeks.

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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 mines.

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.

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