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While the Dead Sea is empty of living creatures except for the occasional floating bather, growing security concerns of potential terror infiltrations from Jordan have led the IDF to mull the deployment of Navy patrol ships in the salty waters.
According to the plan, the Navy will deploy one or two fast patrol boats - called Tzora (hornet) in Hebrew - in the Dead Sea to conduct patrols of the border with Jordan that runs through its center. Currently, the IDF watches over the sea with radars and small rubber boats that can be used to quickly intercept infiltrators.
The plan to deploy the Navy in the Dead Sea is the brainchild of Col. Yigal Slovik, commander of the Jordan Valley Brigade, and would be the first time that there is a permanent naval presence in the salty waters since the late 1970s. The plan has already been approved by Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky and is currently awaiting the final approval of Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi.
"This will improve the IDF capabilities along the border with Jordan," explained an officer involved in the planning. "The border is peaceful and quiet, but there is a need for patrols."
One issue that has yet to be resolved regarding the naval deployment is who will set the rules of engagement. Usually, Navy headquarters are responsible for giving fire orders, but in this case the IDF is considering granting the authority to the brigade commander.