20 December 1998

DM MORDECHAI HOLDS MEETING ON IRAQ SITUATION

(Communicated by Defense Minister’s Media Advisor)

Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai, this evening (Sunday), 20.12.98, met with senior security and defense establishment officials in order to assess the situation following the conclusion of U.S.-British actions against Iraq.

Defense Minister Mordechai expressed his appreciation for the determination of the free world — led by the U.S. — to enforce effective and significant UNSCOM inspection on Iraq in order to prevent Baghdad from being able to threaten the region with missiles and non-conventional weapons, and said that Israel hopes that inspection will be restored soon.

Defense Minister Mordechai approved an IDF recommendation to lower both the Home Front Command’s level of defense readiness and the level of anti-aircraft defense readiness. These will be reactivated according to the IDF’s assessment of the overall situation.

Defense Minister Mordechai emphasized that Israel’s Home Front defense policy is permanent and takes into account the overall threats to Israel and not just that emanating from Iraq; therefore, it is very important that Israelis take advantage of the opening of the stations for checking and updating their defense kits and ensure that their kits are in proper working order.

Defense Minister Mordechai expressed his great appreciation for the U.S. administration, U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and various U.S. units for the warm and efficient ties with the Israeli defense establishment and the rapid deployment of assistance to the Israeli Home Front. "The accelerated and efficient deployment is an additional expression of the quality of the strategic relationship between us and the U.S.," he said.

Defense Minister Mordechai also expressed his appreciation to the IDF, the Defense Ministry, Home Front Command, the police and government ministries for the rapid organization which enabled the Israeli Home Front to quickly achieve the necessary level of preparedness.