Defense Official: Egypt Border Fence Funds Could Have Paid for Iron Dome

First missile defense system batteries will soon be delivered to IAF, could be operational by September.

The government decision to build a fence along the southern end of the border with Egypt is making it difficult to find sufficient funds for the procurement of missile defense systems, according to Defense Ministry Director General Udi Shani.

Shani, a Major General (res.), recently spoke to local council heads of the communities bordering the Gaza Strip, where he presented the difficulties the IDF was facing in acquiring Iron Dome batteries to intercept rockets.

The communities in the western Negev are now considering a petition to the Supreme Court against the defense establishment in an effort to force them to go through with the procurement of additional antimissile systems.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced recently the decision to build a fence along the border with Egypt. The cost of construction is estimated at NIS 1.5 billion.

Shani told the council heads that the procurement budget available is limited and that the amount the state is planning to use for building the fence could have been used to buy interception systems, including missiles and radar, in sufficient quantities to protect the communities along the border with Gaza.

To date Rafael, which is manufacturing the Iron Dome defense system, has only built two batteries, which are now being tested. The batteries will soon be delivered to the air force and Rafael says they could be operational by September.