IDF commander warns: Israel racing to stay ahead of increasingly sophisticated enemies

IDF Brig. Gen. Ran Kochav warns of “sophisticated enemies” who are challenging Israel’s security.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The chief of the IAF Air Defense Division warned on Monday that the systems that protect Israel’s skies are not perfect and countries and terrorist organizations can penetrate them, Israel Hayom reported.

“We are in an arms race,” said Brig. Gen. Ran Kochavat an Israel Homeland Security conference in Rishon Lezion. The enemy is constantly trying to upgrade their missiles and military capabilities, and Israel’s security apparatus works to find an effective answer, he said.

Although the army is “doing almost unimaginary experiments” to put off the obsolescence of current systems, he said that the protection against the missile threat isn’t perfect.

The Iron Dome missile defense array has an impressive record, but the IDF never claimed it was fool-proof. Kochav dismisses the notion that covering Israel with more Iron Domes is the answer.

“People ask us how many batteries will grant us absolute protection,” he said. “There is no number that would give hermetic protection to the State of Israel.”

A 90 percent success rate is amazing, he said, but “there are always going to be failures and lack of success. A device can break down, a soldier can make a mistake or an incorrect decision.”

The IDF is also working hard in two arenas simultaneously, Kochav noted – in Gaza and at the northern border – and “this challenges us from an air defense point of view.”

“Despite our desire to focus on the north, because that is where the significant conflict is,” he said, “the threats from the Gaza Strip pull us southward.”

Kochav acknowledged that Israel’s enemies have advanced capabilities that are forcing the military to work very hard.

“The threats are increasing – more quantity, more accurate, more diverse – from more places directed at more targets,” he said.

“The enemies we face, whether it is Iran, Syria, Lebanon or Gaza, are sophisticated,” he added. “This battle is not simple, and it’s getting more and more complicated. We are encountering an advanced enemy that is trying to challenge us by all kinds of methods that would be incorrect to reveal, whether in its various types of goals, its pace and the quantities” it has at its disposal.

Kochav said that one of the answers lies in the quality of IDF recruits, with the latest draft entering the army during the coming weeks.

“We need combat fighters who are also geniuses, who can make critical decisions in 15 seconds in the face of strategic threats,” he said.