Netanyahu: Threat to Israel's Home Front Dwarfed by Threat of Nuclear Iran

PM accuses previous governments of neglecting investment in home front; says will appoint new home front defense minister in coming days.

"The threat concerning the home front is dwarfed by another threat – Iranian nuclear power," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday morning at the start of the cabinet meeting. Netanyahu added that, nonetheless, every two weeks he convenes a special debate dealing with the home front's preparedness for war.

Netanyahu, who took leave of Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai – who will soon begin his term as Israeli ambassador in China – stressed that, for years, Israeli governments failed to invest in protecting the home front.

"There has been a huge change during the term of this government," Netanyahu said. "We're investing billions in protecting the home front. We're updating our early warning systems and our civilian defense systems, such as Iron Dome and Arrow, as well as other forms of protection."

Netanyahu added that in the coming days he would appoint Vilnai's successor "so that there would be continuity and that the issue would be addressed."

Also Sunday, Israel's Home Front Command prepared to begin testing a text-message warning system to individual cell phones with alerts about impending missile attacks or other emergencies, sources from the Israel Defense Forces said. Officials expected the system to be operational by September.