Daily Israel Report

Vilnai: Iron Dome May be Deployed in Haifa

Israel considering deploying the Iron Dome anti-missile system in Haifa, to protect the oil refineries from a rocket attack.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/7/2011, 8:56 AM

Minister Matan Vilnai
Minister Matan Vilnai
Flash 90

Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said on Tuesday that Israel is considering deploying the Iron Dome anti-missile system in the northern city of Haifa.

Vilnai made the comments during a meeting with the CEO of Oil Refineries Limited, Pinchas Buchris, and company chairman Yossi Rosen. During the meeting, the three discussed the issue of protecting the oil refineries in Haifa and their abilities to continue to supply fuel and petroleum products in case of war.

“We are considering placing an Iron Dome battery in Haifa Bay as an integral system for defending the oil refineries,” Vilnai said. “The continued functioning of Oil Refineries Limited is critical and necessary for Israel’s functioning in times of emergency.”

There is always a concern that a missile launched from Lebanon could hit the refineries, resulting in many casualties and extensive damage. Some of the rockets fired by the Hizbullah terror group during the 2006 Lebanon War narrowly missed the oil refineries.

The Iron Dome system has proven itself to be useful in intercepting rockets fired at southern Israel from Gaza. Despite its effectiveness, however, it is still far from offering Israelis total protection from missile attacks.

During their meeting with Vilnai, the directors of the refineries presented him with the new security measures that were enacted in recent months to protect the facilities, and informed him of the training given to all employees on how to act in the event of a rocket attack on the refineries.

Vilnai recently appointed a special project manager who will work with the National Emergency Authority to ensure the refineries are prepared for a rocket attack on the facility. His ministry, meanwhile, has prepared a program to protect the refineries, based on the belief that the Hizbullah terror group would not hesitate to launch missiles at the sensitive strategic facility. The plan will be discussed and approved by the government in the near future.