Daily Israel Report

Netanyahu Visits IDF Base in the Golan Heights

"Of course we are monitoring what is happening on the other side of this buffer inside Syria," Netanyahu tells soldiers in Golan.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/14/2013, 5:15 AM

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited on Sunday an IDF base on Mt. Avital on the Golan Heights.

During his visit, Netanyahu said, "I visit the Golan Heights from time to time, just as I did on the Egyptian border. We are monitoring the changes taking place in Syria, and many changes are taking place. They affect Israel's security. As you heard from the officers, we are – first of all – building an enhanced ground barrier, from here to the point where the three borders meet on the southern Golan Heights.

"I would like to examine the possibility of extending this fence up to Mt. Hermon so that there will be a strong buffer along the length of our border with Syria," said the Prime Minister. "Of course we are monitoring what is happening on the other side of this buffer inside Syria regarding the rebels taking over and any movements vis-à-vis the chemical weapons. This is not only an Israeli matter; we are in close contact with the US on this issue. This is a strategic interest for both countries."

The ongoing civil war in Syria has spilled over several times into Israel from the Golan Heights. The incidents have included mortar shells landing in the religious Zionist town of Alonei Habashan, which is less than a kilometer from the border, as well as IDF vehicles being hit by bullets fired from Syrian territory into Israel during the fighting between the sides.

The IDF changed the rules of engagement along the Syrian border after the fighting in Syria spilled over into Israel more than once.

Israel has also been monitoring Syria's chemical weapons arsenal. Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, which dates back to the 1970s, is the biggest in the Middle East, but its precise scope remains unclear, according to analysts.

The United States and its allies, including Israel, have repeatedly expressed concern that Syria's stockpile, believed to be one of the biggest in the world, could be stolen and fall into extremist hands or be transferred to the Hizbullah terror group by a crumbling Syrian regime.

Also, a report on Sunday indicated that Iran has been establishing signals intelligence stations in several parts of the Middle East, including the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Defense Department has indicated that one of the intelligence stations was established in the Golan Heights, close to Syria's border with Israel, the report said.