Netanyahu Seeks Billions to Fund Israeli Defense Against Iranian Cruise Missiles

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urgently wants to supplement the defense budget by a few billion shekels to improve the missile defense system in identifying incoming cruise missiles. The security cabinet met Sunday afternoon to discuss the issue of the threat from Iran.

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Netanyahu is responding to the Iranian attack on two Saudi oil facilities on September 14. In a sophisticated attack, Iran used a combination of drones and an Iranian version of cruise missiles.

An initial evaluation of the massive damage shows that the Iranians managed to bypass the radar of the American Patriot missile batteries in Saudi Arabia. The attack, which also made an impression on Israeli defense officials, could require changes in Israel’s defensive preparations, too.

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Remains of what was described as a misfired Iranian cruise missile used in the attack on Saudi oil facilities, September 18, 2019.Amr Nabil,AP

It seems that to improve capabilities to prevent similar attacks, Israel will have to upgrade its ability to identify incoming threats. And to certain extent it will have to change the way it operates now – and possibly strengthen the Israeli-made Magic Wand (David’s Sling) interceptor system for middle-range missiles, and the veteran American Patriot PAC-2 missiles.