Netanyahu Asks Billion Shekels for Missile Defense Against Iran

YERUSHALAYIM -

A new, billion-shekel missile defense system has come under consideration in Israel in response to the threat posed by Iran’s cruise missile capability, according to the Kan public broadcaster on Sunday evening.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly presented the case for such a program to the security cabinet in a special session held earlier in the day. According to Channel 12, the assembled ministers heard and discussed the possibility of an attack on Israel similar to the one on Saudi Arabian oil facilities attributed to Iran.

Kan also quoted finance ministry officials as saying the formidable cost of the defense project (the equivalent of about $290 million) would necessitate cutbacks of social programs and the raising of taxes in order to keep a bulging deficit under control. Cuts in the IDF budget would be another way of helping to fund it, though it might mean an even bigger fight.

The ongoing political crisis casts its shadow here too. Much of the funding for the proposed defense project must await authorization from a newly elected government, something the country doesn’t have at the moment.

No official comment was forthcoming from the government on the reports as yet.