Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned lawmakers on Monday that nearly 50 tons of explosives could be dropped on Israel during its next war, but added that the Israel Defense Forces could retaliate by firing back 1,500 tons of ammunition with extreme precision.
The defense minister told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that despite this alarming statistic, Israel could retaliate by shooting 1,500 tons of ammunition with extreme precision.
"There is a significant effort being made by armies in Arab countries to diminish the military capabilities of the Israel Defense Forces by improving their antiaircraft technologies," Barak told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Once Israel has finished equipping itself for every level of weapon interception, Barak added, "it will bring about a significant and positive change for Israel's strategic balance in the region."
Such an endeavor will take an investment of about NIS 7 billion and 20 years of preparation, said Barak, declaring that Israel must increase its defense budget to meet the challenge."
In his address to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Barak also spoke about the Palestinian endeavor to achieve status as an observer state at the United Nations in September.
"[They] are working to achieve a critical mass of states that would support a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders," said Barak, but added, "I doubt they will be able to reach that mass."
The defense minister said he believed it would be in Israel's interest to open negotiations with Palestinians over the coming months, "but if that proves impossible, we will at least aspire to get support from significant states for the UN vote."
The chairman of the committee, MK Shaul Mofaz, denounced Barak's "aspirations" as "unprecedented and seriously grave".
"The political echelon is throwing responsibility for preparing for September on the military echelon, and is abandoning its most basic responsibility," said Mofaz.
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