'170,000 Rockets Aimed at Israel'
Israel's Chief of Military Intelligence, Major General Aviv Kohavi, painted a clear and graphic picture of what Israel faces on a daily basis on Wednesday: a constant barrage of terrorist threats.
"Israel is surrounded by 360 degrees of actual enemies," Kohavi stated, in a speech at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) quoted by Walla!.
"We call this period in time the "Era of Fire", in light of the amount of missiles and rockets we face as a constant threat. There are about 170,000 rockets and missiles that threaten Israel," Kochavi said.
"The fighting in Syria, as well as operation 'Pillar of Defense', has resulted in a slight decrease. However, it will increase again," he added. "For the first time the enemy now has the ability to hit Israeli cities hard."
Kohavi issued a new term to describe Israel's enemies: "paramilitary terrorist groups."
"We cannot continue to call Hezbollah a terror group," Kohavi maintained. "They have over 100,000 rockets and missiles, some of them advanced. The same can be said of Hamas. The line between a terror organization and a military organization continues to blur."
"Today, Israel is threatened with warheads that contain half a ton of explosives - but also warheads that contain 900 kilograms of explosives," Kohavi explained. "Our enemies are working on procuring weapons systems in the air and on the sea to break through our Air Force and Navy. IAF pilots can no longer move freely toward their targets and have to dodge missiles that threaten them."
Kohavi also related to Syria, which has been caught in an all-out Islamic holy war since 2011. According to the Major General, the security threat is enormous: over 30,000 global jihad terrorists are concentrated there, and many are in training camps to bring terrorism abroad.
"Syria has become a magnet for terrorists in Europe, America, Asia and North Africa," he noted. "The terror will not stay there, but will spill over into sleeper camps in Lebanon and Sinai and infect the entire region."
Jihadists have been slowly crossing the border into Turkey, Kohavi stated, "where they are a threat to Europe. The distance between Syria and Turkey is not far."
"We are talking about extremists clinging to extremist ideologies - anti-Western and anti-Modern ideologies," he continued. "We are talking about exceptional cruelty and brutality close to our borders."
In addition, Kohavi warned that Iran's nuclear program remains an imminent threat. "Iran's nuclear program continues," he stated. "It is just waiting on Iranian leaders to decide whether or not to produce one bomb, or more."
Kohavi does remain slightly optimistic, however, about threats closer to Israel's borders. "The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas in Gaza are under great distress right now," he said. "This is a serious opportunity for the State of Israel."
Kochavi also referred to cyberspace and the threats against Israel launched on that front.
"Last year, there were dozens of attacks carried out on Israel's security systems and hundreds of attacks on state institutions," he said. "The field of cyberwarfare has only just begun."
"Cyberwarfare, in my humble opinion, will soon emerge as a more important discovery than gunpowder," he stated. "The ability to use cyberspace is unlimited - and that's not just a metaphor. In the past we gathered the same intelligence with 40 people that we can now do with four."