israel news

Israel News for 1-16-19

Iron Dome
The United States Army has asked Congress for $373 million to buy two batteries of the Israeli Iron Dome missiles defense system. Israel has sold the US technological systems in recent decades, but this would be the first full weapons system. According to American news site Inside Defense, the US Army wants to acquire the two batteries off-the-shelf from Rafael and seeks to have them delivered by 2020. The batteries will include 12 launchers, two sensors, two battlement management centers and 240 interceptors.

The Americans have already tested the Iron Dome system. In September 2017, Israel loaned the US an Iron Dome battery, which was flown to the missile range in White Sands, New Mexico, where it successfully intercepted different types of threats that were launched at it.

According to Inside Defense, Iron Dome is also significantly cheaper than other American systems. For example, the system based on the AIM-120 AMRAAM costs $12 million for each launcher and $800,000 for each interceptor missile. The Iron Dome, meanwhile, will cost the Americans $1.37 million for each launcher, $150,000 for each interceptor missile, $4 million for the battlement management center and $34.7 million for the MMR.

But the US deserves a good deal on the system. While Iron Dome was developed by Israel, since 2011 the US has invested $1.4 billion in its development and its acquisition for the Israel Air Force. Raytheon, which manufactures the Patriot missile system, has partnered up with Rafael to produce the Iron Dome system, with over 50 percent of its components manufactured in the US, in accordance with US Department of Defense requirements in return for the funding. Raytheon is expected to also play a major role in the production of the Tamir missiles for the US Army.

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New Chief
Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi yesterday took over as the new IDF Chief of Staff. As part of his swearing in ceremony he visited the National Hall of Remembrance on Mount Herzl, the Western Wall and the President’s residence.

Kochavi, who was born in 1964, grew up in Kiryat Bialik. He is the second of the three children of the late Riba, who was a physical education teacher, and Shaul, a shop owner. He began his IDF service in the Paratroopers’ Brigade, excelled at infantry officers’ course and went on to serve as the commander of the 101st Battalion, the commander of the Paratroopers’ Brigade, the head of the Military Intelligence Directorate (MID), the GOC Northern Command, and the deputy IDF chief. He has a bachelor’s degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a master’s from Harvard University.

Kochavi is the 22nd IDF Chief of Staff.

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To see a video and images of his visit to the Kotel click here.

Swimming Ban
Malaysia’s foreign minister said today that his government will not rescind its decision to ban Israeli athletes from participating in a para swimming competition in the country and that Malaysia will not host any events in the future that include Israel. Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country that does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

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