New Airport in South Raises Terror Alert Level

Airport being constructed in Timna to replace Eilat airport brings new fears of terrorism in the Arava area; officials push for fence.

Tova Dvorin,

Eilat Airport
Eilat Airport
Israel Airport Authority

The IDF'a Arava Division has been battling a steady stream of illegal immigrants from Jordan, security sources said Monday - and the threat is beginning to become a security risk. 

According to the sources, the foreign workers' risk is being reassessed due to the construction of a new airport in Timna, which is expected to become a prime target in the event of another war. 

The Timna airport, also known as the Ilan and Assaf Ramon Airport, will eventually replace the Eilat airport as Israel's southern air hub. It will also serve as a diversion airport for Ben-Gurion Airport in Lod. The airport is slated to be finished in 2017. 

Immediately after the new government is formed, the Defense Ministry will ask for an additional 250 million shekel ($64.6 million) to finance a 30-km (18.6 mile)-long fence to be built on the Jordan border, according to Walla! News, in order to counter the immigration threat and help secure the airport. 

The fence would be classified as a national project that requires a total budget of 3 billion shekels ($775 million).

Phase I of the program, to be managed by the head of the Security Fence Division, Gen. Eran Ofir, are in advanced stages of planning by engineers of the Ministry of Defense on the basis of the recommendations of the IDF. Budgeting additional steps will depend on the scope of the threats.

"The opening of the airport in Timna will depend, among other things, the establishment of an advanced system and a similar fence along the Egyptian border," said a senior military official. "The eastern boundary is calm, but as we construct the airport we cannot ignore the latest threats."

Southern Command officials, meanwhile, stress that the establishment of the airport in Timna requires new thinking about transferring an Iron Dome battery into the area. 

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