Liberman Says North Unprepared for War

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman arriving Sunday for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Yerushalayim. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool)

Despite numerous statements issued by the IDF in recent months declaring readiness to repel any threat, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Sunday that the northern part of the country is unprepared for war and that much more defense spending is needed.

“The best situation is in the south, in the area around the Gaza Strip; the worst situation is in the north,” Liberman told a conference held by Yedioth Ahronoth.

At the same time, he claimed that Israel was strong enough to handle any eventuality.

“First of all, don’t be alarmed. We need to deal with everything calmly and with determination. We are prepared for every scenario, we are raising our level of alertness and we will deal with every event that comes,” he said.

In response to Lieberman, Kahlon said on Sunday that the funds for for the north have already been transferred, and add: “Surely he doesn’t expect me to come along with a cement mixer and build security for him.”

Since 2006, roughly 1.7 billion shekels ($485 million) has been spent on protective facilities in the area around the Gaza Strip, where fewer than 50,000 people live, meaning approximately NIS 37,000 ($10,600) per resident.

By comparison, in northern Israel, where nearly a quarter of a million people live, the investment has been NIS 236 million ($68 million) for bomb shelters in that same period, or approximately NIS 970 ($280) for each resident.

In a running battle with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon for more money, a budget increase of NIS 150 million ($43 million) was obtained recently for installing and upgrading bomb shelters in the north, The Times of Israel reported.

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