Daily Israel Report

IDF Expert: Gov´t Seeks Anti-Kassam Systems That Don´t Exist

While the defense establishment tells the Israeli public it is shopping for an anti-rocket system to use against Kassam attacks, a military expert says there are none available.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 11/23/2006, 12:22 PM / Last Update: 11/23/2006, 8:42 AM

Professor Isaac Ben-Israel, a military expert at Tel Aviv University, said that none of
Professor Isaac Ben-Israel, Tel Aviv University
the current anti-rocket systems on the market are appropriate for use against the Kasssam model.

The former IDF general told the Associated Press Wednesday that Israel Defense Ministry officials are looking at two systems, but both are still in the development stage. Neither is a working option at this point. Ben-Israel, a Maj.-Gen in reserves, headed Military R&D in the Israel Defense Forces as well as several posts in operations, intelligence and weapon development.

Military officials flew to the U.S. to check out a system that fires 35 mm shells that intercept the rockets. The system is similar to one tested for the U.S. Army in Iraq.

Another plan was developed by Israeli and American scientists for use in the north against Katyusha rocket attacks, according to John Pike, director of a U.S.-based think tank, GlobalSecurity.org.

This system uses high-energy laser beams to intercept incoming missiles. The problem, said Pike, is that clouds or dust might interfere with the lasers – something to be considered in the western-Negev desert environment where dust storms are common.

The problem that now faces the defense establishment is time: Reuven Pedatzur, a lecturer at Tel Aviv University said none of the systems will be operational in the near future. He said the Defense Ministry and IDF were checking out the systems just to "show the public that it's doing something."

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, a Sderot resident, was shown in Channel 10 running for cover with his bodyguards near his home after the early-warning system in his town sounded Thursday morning.

Ezra HaLevi contributed to this report