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February 1, 2022 5:09 pm
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Israel Readying ‘Laser Wall’ Defense System to Intercept Rockets, Bennett Reveals

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at the 15th Annual International Conference of the INSS on Feb. 1, 2022. Photo: Haim Zach / GPO

Israel plans to launch its “laser wall” defense interception system within a year to protect the country from missiles and other threats, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett disclosed on Tuesday.

“Within a year the IDF will bring into action a laser-based system for intercepting rockets,” Bennett announced at an event hosted by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS). “This will allow us, in the medium to long term, to surround Israel with a laser wall that protects us from missiles, rockets, UAVs and other threats.”

“In fact, it will take away the strongest card the enemy has against us,” he asserted.

The laser interception system will initially be used by Israel’s armed forces experimentally next year, and will later become operational first in the south and then elsewhere, according to Bennett.

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Israel currently spends heavily on defense systems like the Iron Dome interceptors to shoot down rockets, while the low-tech projectiles fired by terrorist groups require a fraction of the cost.

“This is an illogical equation which does not converge and allows [terrorists] to launch more and more Qassam rockets and for us to spend millions on every ‘lightning strike’ and billions during a military campaign,” Bennett explained. “The economic equation will be reversed; they will invest a lot and we will invest a little. If it is possible to intercept a missile or rocket with just an electric pulse that costs a few dollars, we will have nullified the ring of fire that Iran has set up on our borders.”

The prime minister added that the new generation of Israeli air defenses could also serve regional allies facing threats from Iran and its proxies.

“The campaign to weaken Iran has begun, a campaign waged on all levels — nuclear, economic, cyber, covertly and openly, independently and in cooperation with others,” Bennett said. “The weaker Tehran is, the weaker its affiliates are. The hungrier the octopus is, the less reach it has with its tentacles.”

Commenting on the ongoing talks in Vienna to salvage the Iran nuclear deal, Bennett warned that a removal of sanctions would fuel billions of dollars into Tehran’s coffers for more rockets, UAVs, terrorist cells, cyber attacks and other malign activities against Israel and other regional allies.

“We hope the Vienna talks end without a deal, as the deal discussed is not good for Israel. Even with a deal, we believe the Iranians will stay Iranians,” Bennett said. “We assess that Iranian belligerence in the region will only gain force. Israel will be ready, and no deal will stop us taking action to defend the citizens of Israel.”

Bennett noted that although the US is Israel’s closest ally, the Biden administration has various interests that “do not always overlap with Israel’s.”

“US interest in this region is dwindling given a changing strategic reality,” he said.

US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides, speaking at the INSS conference, also addressed the indirect talks with Tehran.

“This administration can be focused on several things. It can deal with Russia and Ukraine while, in keeping with its commitment to Israel, ensuring Iran does not achieve nuclear capabilities,” Nides said. “We will not accept a nuclear-armed Iran.”

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