‘Israel Not Prepared for Drone Threat’

“Be ready, prepare yourselves, you and all the battalions mustered about you, and hold yourself in reserve for them.” Ezekiel 38:7 (The Israel Bible™)

By: Yona Schnitzer/TPS

The IDF has  yet to develop a suitable response to the threat of cross border drone attacks, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira said in a special report issued Wednesday that also looked at regulation of domestic drone use.

“In view of the IDF’s analysis that the drone threat is a developing, unique and worrisome threat, and in view of the fact that the IDF does not possess a complete response to the threat, the danger increases that the enemy will use drones and not meet an adequate response,” the Comptroller wrote.

Shapiro called on the IDF and the National Security Council to complete as quickly as possible preparatory work to deal with the threat of drone attacks originating from outside of Israel’s border.

On November 11, the IDF shot down a Syrian drone as it circled near the border on the Golan Heights on an intelligence gathering mission. The drone was shot down by a Patriot missile. In August 2016, the IDF however failed with three attempts to shoot down a drone that entered Israeli airspace from Syria and managed to return.

Both Hamas and Hezbollah have also sent drones into Israeli airspace from Gaza in the South and Lebanon in the North.

Israel’s security apparatus fears that drones may be used for spying on sensitive locations, whether operated from outside Israel’s borders, or within, as well as being used in potential terror and cross-border attacks attacks.

The report also stressed the need for far stricter regulation and enforcement of existing laws in all matters pertaining to civilian operated drones.

It noted that while the IDF is responsible for dealing with drones flown in from across the border the border, the Israeli Police is responsible for dealing with domestic drone-related incidents. However, only the IDF is equipped to deal with such incidents, the report noted, before harshly criticizing the IDF, Police force and the National Security Council for not delineating the drone threat between the different organizations, despite them being aware of the potential threat posed by them for nearly three years.

The report estimates that by the end of 2017, there will be approximately 20,000 drones being operated throughout Israel – with virtually no form of regulation on their use and acquisitions. Furthermore, as drones get more affordable and easier to operate, that figure is expected to grow immensely in coming years.

In response to the report, the Prime Minister’s office said, “The issue of [potential drone threats] is known and is being taken care of, with the state of Israel being a world pioneer in finding ways to solve the issue.”

The PMO’s statement also noted that the prime Minister had convened a special meeting to discuss the drone that in May, as well as raising the issue in a cabinet meeting in June. The statement said the prime minister had instructed the Defense Ministry and the National Security Council to start devising a solution to the problem.