Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai gave US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano an airborne guided tour of Israel Wednesday morning.
Napolitano Tours Skies Over Holy Land
Deputy Defense Minister Vilnai gives US Secretary of Homeland Security a tour of Israel, from Golan to Jerusalem.
Gil Ronen, 05/01/11 19:56 | updated: 20:29
Vilnai and Napolitano on tour
Linoy Elichai, Defense Ministry
The two hour helicopter tour began in Jerusalem and continued northward to the Golan Heights, then back to central Israel over the coastal plain.
In the course of the flight, Vilnai explained the threats facing Israel: the rockets in Lebanon and Gaza that threaten all of Israel, terror acts and the infiltration of terrorists from Gaza, Judea and Samaria, threats to water sources and disasters like the Carmel fire (which was compounded by more than two dozen arson attacks).
Vilnai stressed the importance of preventing the smuggling of weapons into Judea and Samaria, especially due to the proximity of Ben Gurion Airport to the security fence.
He also showed Napolitano the crossings through which goods travel between Israel and the PA, as well as the border fence and the charred Carmel mountains.
"I have been in battle too many times, but I am still optimistic and I am a great believer in peace with the Palestinians," Vilnai stated after the tour. "The security situation here is very complicated and it is therefore very important to safeguard Israel's security interests in order to prevent the terror organizations from getting closer to the heart of Israel."