Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept rockets fired from Gaza Strip, near Sderot, Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday that Israel will roll out a laser system to act as a wall of defense against rockets, missiles, and other threats.
“In about a year, the IDF will launch a laser interception system. At first experimentally and later it will become operational. First in the south and then elsewhere. This will allow us, in the medium to long term, to surround Israel with a laser wall that protects us from missiles, rockets, UAVs, and other threats. In fact, it will take away the strongest card the enemy has against us,” Bennett said while speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference.
Israeli Defense officials previously predicted that such technology wouldn’t be operational until 2025. Bennett’s announcement significantly speeds up the system’s development.
The premier suggested that the laser technology could one day replace Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which the country relies on heavily to intercept rockets launched by terror groups in the Gaza Strip.
Bennett said the Iron Dome interceptor costs “tens of thousands of dollars,” but lasers can stop missiles for much less.
“If it is possible to intercept a missile or rocket with just an electric pulse that costs a few dollars, we will have nullified the ring of fire that Iran has set up on our borders,” he said.
Bennett indicated that Israel could export this laser technology.
“This new generation of Israeli air defense could also serve our friends in the region who are also exposed to severe threats from Iran and its proxies. This is another way in which we will create assets, use them and give what we have to the world in order to gain support, create alliances and become even stronger,” he said.
His statement came days after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen launched a missile attack against the United Arab Emirates.
Bennett also touched on the nuclear negotiations world powers are currently holding with Iran in Vienna.
“We hope that they conclude without an agreement. But even with an agreement, our assessment is that the Iranians will continue to be Iranians,” he said.
“The Israeli strategy remains the same in the case of an agreement, which in any case only buys a very short amount of time until the sunset clause, or in the event that there is no agreement. In both cases, our campaign continues,” said Bennett.