311_ amir peretz.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee announced Monday that MK Amir Peretz (Labor) will lead a special team appointed by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to examine the equipping and deployment of the active defense system Iron Dome.
Peretz, who is a resident of the Kassam-plagued western Negev town of Sderot and a former defense minister, was asked by Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman MK Tzahi Hanegbi (Kadima) and by subcommittee chairman Avi Dichter (Kadima) to lead the special team to examine aspects of the system, which was developed by Rafael.
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The team will also include MKs Otniel Schneller (Kadima) and Moshe Matalon (Israel Beiteinu), and will work with the Defense Ministry, the IDF and Rafael to advance the conclusions published by Dichter’s subcommittee.
The team is expected to begin its work in the very near future, and in the coming days will visit the Rafael plant to examine and discuss issues concerning the speed of the system’s production, its anticipated costs, and operational questions that still remain before the system’s anticipated deployment in early fall.
Peretz’s team is expected to deliver conclusions to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, although the team has yet to meet to determine a timetable for their findings.
The IDF reported in late July that they had completed a successful test of the anti-rocket system, and that the first units were expected to be deployed in the western Negev as early as November.
“The real threat against Israel isn’t that Syria or Hizbullah will conquer Israel, but is rather the rockets and missiles from short-, medium- and long-term ranges,” Schneller explained. “If we close our eyes and imagine that there is a wall around Israel that stops everything that could come in, then we no longer have real existential threats – and that is why these active defense systems like the Iron Dome are so important.”
Schneller said that as subcommittee chairman for defense oversight, he
has already held three hearings on the subject of Iron Dome development
and operational planning.
One of the key questions that he said the special team will probe is
whether the scale of production is in line with the operational needs.
“I am concerned that in order for these multi-layered systems, which
include the Magic Wand, Iron Dome and the Arrow, to be really effective,
the IDF and security services must manufacture many, many more
knock-out missiles than are currently being produced,” Schneller