Israel Unprepared for Drone Threat, State Watchdog Warns

Budgetary problems and a lack of coordination between Israeli defense bodies and authorities are among the criticisms

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Drones are seen during a large-scale drone combat exercise of Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran in January
Drones are seen during a large-scale drone combat exercise of Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran in January Credit: WANA NEWS AGENCY/Reuters

Israel's State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman harshly criticized the slow pace in which the Israeli military deals with the threat of drones in a follow-up report released on Monday.

Englman laid out the reasons why Israel is unprepared “in a manner that would enable adequate defense against the drone threat,” including a lack of coordination between defense bodies and authorities as well as budgetary problems.

The report is an update of a report released in November 2017, in which then comptroller, retired judge Joseph Shapira, warned about the Israeli military's handling of drones, which can be purchased and operated easily.

In the report that was provided to the Knesset at the time, Shapira also covered the security risks stemming from the lack of regulation and enforcement of the civilian use of drones, along with the growing security risk – according to the assessments of the intelligence community – from the purchase of drones by terror organizations.

After the original report was released in 2017, the security cabinet divided the responsibility for handling the problem between the various security organizations. The security cabinet made the army responsible for defense against drones entering Israel and for military facilities. Israel's Police were made responsible for drone flights within Israel.

In Monday’s report, Englman states that the police and the army's operations branch “did not set the boundaries and regulations for transferring responsibility between them according to the decision of the security cabinet and the National Security Council.”

Israeli army said in response that it had reviewed the necessary regulations to combat the threat of drones as suggested by the report. Furthermore, the army has acted according to the report –  and the suggestions it had put forward – and purchased the systems which it had recommended .  

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