PM rebuffs reports that home front not prepared

Netanyahu says Iranian danger dwarfs all other threats, bids farewell to Home Front Defense Minister Vilnai.

August 12, 2012 13:21
1 minute read.
Arrow missile defense system.

Arrow missile defense system 390. (photo credit: Israel Aerospace Industries/Reuters)

With the country's papers over the last few days full of reports of an imminent war with Iran, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday said goodbye at the weekly cabinet meeting to Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, who is leaving to take up his post as ambassador to China.

Netanyahu said that he will name a replacement for Vilani in the coming days.

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In an apparent reaction to a Yedioth Aharonot story Sunday saying that the home front was woefully unprepared for an attack on Iran and its aftermath, Netanyahu lauded Vilnai and said the country had made huge strides in preparing itself for any contingency.

"Who knows better than you that for dozens of years the government of Israel did not invest sufficiently in home front defense," Netanyahu said.

In a reference to the first Gulf War and Saddam Hussein's Scud missiles, Netanyahu said, "The missile era began in 1991, with the Gulf War, and there are those who say even before that. I think there's been a big change during this government."

For example, Netanyahu said, "A separate ministry to deal with this issue was set up, meetings every two week have been held with him, Vilnai, and other ministers to deal with the issue and assess the situation, and billions of shekels have been spent on home front defense, including the Iron Dome, the Arrow and other weapons systems.

He also said Israel had developed perhaps the most advanced warning system in the world. Netanyahu added that while it is impossible to say that there are no problems with home front defense, all the threats facing the homefront today are dwarfed by one threat: Iran.

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