Ex-Minister Kahlon: IDF Officer Warned Cellular Reform Could Endanger Iron Dome

Senior officer warned then-Communications Minister Kahlon against overlapping frequencies with Iron Dome system.

Tomer Appelbaum

A senior Israel Defense Forces officer reportedly warned former Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon that opening up the cellular market to competition could endanger the Iron Dome missile protection system, Kahlon reportedly said recently.

The statement was reported on the blog of Tomer Avital and Tal Schneider as part of the “100 days of transparency” project.

Kahlon won acclaims for the cellular reform, which introduced new players into a market concentrated among three big companies, drastically lowering prices.

Kahlon reportedly recounted telling MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen, then the head of the Knesset Economics Committee, to push through approval for the reform. Then a senior officer from the IDF communications department called, requesting an urgent meeting.

The officer reportedly told Kahlon, “What you’re doing is very dangerous. It could harm Iron Dome. The frequencies could overlap.”

The following morning, the mass-market tabloid Yedioth Ahronoth reported, “Kahlon is endangering Israel’s security,” he reportedly recounted.

Kahlon reportedly said he received backing from then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who confirmed that it was all spin, and told him to go through with whatever reform he had planned.

Kahlon reportedly cited this story as an example of how the army, big business and the media were working together. When he asked media outlets why the story was published, he said he was told in response that the cellular companies’ corporate groups spend 400 million shekels a year on advertising.

Kahlon’s office stated that contrary to how the story was recounted, there was no such article in Yedioth Ahronoth. Rather, these things were said by IDF officials at a Knesset Economics Committee meeting, said his office.