'The Syrians got the message'

MK Yoav Kisch: "We conveyed a message that Israel will not allow an enemy aircraft to infiltrate its territory."

Benny Tocker ,

Yoav Kisch
Yoav Kisch
Hillel Maeir/TPS

MK Yoav Kisch (Likud), a combat pilot in the reserves, on Wednesday hailed the Israeli air defense systems which downed a Syrian plane after it infiltrated into Israel on Tuesday.

"I think we sent a clear message, the State of Israel will not allow anyone to cross into its territory. The air defense systems did the right thing by downing that plane that infiltrated, whether it was accidentally or not,” Kisch told Arutz Sheva.

He noted that decisions in such situations must be made quickly. "When you face an enemy plane that appears to be armed with bombs and crossed the border, you do not take into account that it may have crossed into your territory by accident. It might have made a navigational error because it is a relatively outdated airplane. Maybe it did not know the area very well, but we do not care about such things. We need to make sure that an enemy plane crossing the border into the State of Israel is downed and does not go back to where it came from."

Kisch explained how decisions are made to intercept a plane within a few seconds. "The order to open fire is not automatic and it is in the authority of either a pilot or a person who controls and is responsible for launching the ground missile. The order is given out based on a combination of preliminary decisions and on the understanding that you are facing an enemy plane, and not, for example, a Russian plane that is not defined as an enemy aircraft.”

Syria has denied that the aircraft downed on Tuesday entered Israeli territory. A Syrian official told Lebanon's Elnashra website on Wednesday that Syria would respond to the incident.

"The response to the downed plane will not take long, and it will be in several steps, the first of which will be that the military operations will be completed. A direct response to the Israeli forces will come at the appropriate time,” said the official.