"Threats of missiles are becoming more severe"

Yissachar Ruas, Jerusalem Conference

Brig. Gen. Yossi Kupperwasser spoke about threats on Israel’s security at the Jerusalem Conference; special honor guest appearance made by the Commander of the IDF (Zahal) delegation to Haiti

Date: 17/02/2010, 7:00 PM     Author: Ashley Drexler

The 7th annual Jerusalem Conference, which took place at the Regency Hotel, Mt. Scopus, between Feb.15-17 addressed many issues facing Israel today. Speakers at the three-day event included: the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu; members of the Israeli government; the Commander of the IDF (Zahal) delegation in Haiti, Brig. Gen. (res.) Shalom Ben-Aryeh; other IDF (Zahal) officers; as well as leaders in the political, economic, academic, media, communal, security, and military spheres.

Among the issues discussed on Tuesday (Feb. 16) were the Iranian threats to the region and beyond, with keynote speaker Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Gilead, former Director of the Research Division in the IDF (Zahal) Intelligence Branch. Other topics included: communicating Israel’s message through new social media, and missile threats and missile defense, which were discussed in detail by Brig. Gen. (res.) Ilan Biton, former Commander of the Air Defense Forces of the Israeli Air Force, and Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, and several other speakers.

Brig. Gen. Kuperwasser emphasized in his speech that “the main central military threat against Israel is the missile threat. Israel’s security situation changes all the time. Threats of missiles are becoming more severe at an extremely quick pace”. He continued by saying: “During the Second Lebanon War, Hamas had 13,000 missiles. Today, the number of rockets and missiles spread around Israel is in the tens of thousands. The reality has changed. Moreover, if in the past missiles and rockets were weapons possessed by States and were thought of as strategic tools, today they are used also by terror organizations, and the reality is much more severe. This is because these same States removed the obstacles that they imposed before and began transferring missiles to terror organizations they support under their authority.”

In addition, special honor guest Brig. Gen. Shalom Ben-Aryeh, Commander of the IDF (Zahal) delegation to Haiti, spoke about the work that was carried out by the IDF (Zahal) on their mission to provide medical aid as well as search and rescue assistance during the Haiti crisis. In his speech, he told how the IDF (Zahal) treated more than 1000 patients, conducted many successful surgeries, delivered 16 babies and saved many from within the ruins. Brig. Gen. Ben-Arye concluded his presentation with a documentation produced by the IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson’s Unit, depicting the mission that was carried out in Haiti.

To conclude the evening, a special program paid tribute Israel’s heroes – An Expression of the Gratitude of a People Ot HaGebura of Jerusalem Conference to five IDF (Zahal) soldiers for Bravery Above and Beyond the Call for Duty. Among the heroes honored in the ceremony were Brig. Gen. (res.) Avigdor Kahalani, recipient of IDF (Zahal) Medal of Valor for his service during the Yom Kippur War and currently Chairman of the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers; MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), recipient of Medal of Distinguished Service for Valor, Yom Kippur War; and Tzvi “Tzvika” Greenvald, recipient of IDF (Zahal) Medal of Valor, Yom Kippur War, and currently Mayor of Ofakim.