Israel Facing Sharp Debates Over Missile Defense ApproachesOct 29, 2007 14:28 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff
The political situation in Israel around missile defense has always been more cohesive and certain than other countries. Japan is another such case, thanks to an emerging consensus after North Korea’s unstable leadership fired a ballistic missile directly over Japan. In Israel’s case, they are confronted by a regime in Iran that has openly threatened to wipe out the Jewish state several times, while preaching the moral value of suicide-murder and building ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons of their own.
The resulting concentration of the mind might be about to fray somewhat, however, as a group of citizens gets set to take on the country’s defense industry in the wake of a recent war. It isn’t that they have any issues with the concept, however – it’s that they believe the government is spending its time and money on the wrong mix of programs and technologies. That criticism has been voiced before by prominent Israelis in venues like Jane’s, but has never had an organized public pressure group behind it.
The Israel Missile Defense Association (IMDA) aims to augment support for active defenses at home and abroad. Part of its mandate calls for informed discussion of policy, spending and technical options. They also aim to peel away some of the secrecy surrounding the ministry’s efforts, and open up public debate over the chosen priorities and funding levels. While an agenda hasn’t been formally determined yet, former IAF Generals and a former MoD director-general have already stepped in with recommendations to fund and deploy the THEL laser system as an area defense against short-range rockets, which Northrop Grumman recently re-introduced as “Skyguard.”