The Defense Ministry's Civil and Social Issues Minister Michael Biton toured the area surrounding the Gaza Strip on Thursday in light of the increased terrorist activity coming out of Gaza in recent weeks. Biton was accompanied by IDF officers, Itamar Revivo, head of the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, Ofir Libstein, head of the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council, and security personnel. The tour included a briefing given to Biton near the Erez Crossing that focused on incendiary balloon terrorism that has dramatically increased recently and has caused dozens of fires in nearby villages."The standard that we set when Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz began his position was zero tolerance towards incendiary balloons and similar explosives. We won't allow any harm to the sovereignty and the way of life of residents of this area, and we will respond with severity and with all tools in our disposal to fight against the terrorist organizations in Gaza," Biton said. Biton finished his tour at the site of the Lahav Or laser system which was deployed on the northern Israel-Gaza border and is designed to intercept explosives connected to balloons by shooting a laser beam towards the device and neutralizing the threat without endangering nearby people. Biton reportedly discussed the benefits of the new system with Border Police commander Yaakov “Kobi” Shabtai, who played a major role in developing the system. "We will continue to make efforts for returning the peace and quiet to local residents. At the same time, we never forget our mission of bringing our boys back home - Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, may they rest in peace, and the rest of the innocent kidnapped civilians," Biton concluded. The Lahav Or system became operational last week and is equipped with highly advanced detection capabilities that allow the system to detect and safely neutralize targets like balloons automatically and with high precision. The system was developed by Prof. Amiel Ishaaya at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev after incendiary balloons started being launched into Israel in 2018, setting fire to farmland and causing widespread damage. Realizing that no one was looking into a way to prevent the balloons from posing a threat, Ishaaya, an expert on lasers, contacted industry experts. Together, with the backing of Border Police commander Shabtai, Ishaaya founded OptiDefense to develop the system, working on a shoe-string budget of just a few million shekels to develop a prototype within a year. Donna Rachel Edmunds contributed to this article.