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Israel fears 100,000 rockets fired at once




Threats & counter-measures abound in Israel

It seems eerily strange and coincidental that the IDF spokesman for foreign media, Lt Col Peter Lerner, told over 100 diaspora editors from over thirty countries at the Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem just two weeks ago about the main threats that Israel perceived, and their plans for countering these.

Among this group were the author and Jewish Report editor-in-chief Geoff Sifrin.

Lerner also told delegates attending the first ever Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem, that the IDF’s strategists saw three main threats going forward – while the IDF’s Chief of Staff had developed four main strategies for the future.

Lerner is enjoying a lot of airtime on international news-media channels at present. Both he and his Chief of Staff may wish they could eat their words given the current situation, but one gets the feeling that the present engagement is just a temporary blip in the big scheme of things, that their future threat assessments are probably spot on the mark, and that much – but not all – of what was told to us two weeks ago is as they had anticipated.

Lerner told the foreign Jewish Media Summit that the IDF’s three major threats were:

  • Iran – and its proxies;
  • Radical Islamic extremists; and
  • Instability amongst its neighbours.

Israel, said Lerner, had to find the right balance between its image problem and the strategic threat it faced. This, he said, was no simple task. “We can’t be simple,” he joked, we like to be Israelis!”


Dire warning turned into reality

However, said Lerner, Israel faced threats on all fronts. “We live in times when State Sovereignty cannot be taken for granted and borders are being redrawn.”

The IDF faced threats from non-State and semi-State entities, said Lerner, such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaida-affiliated groups. “The traditional threats are still there,” explained Lerner, mostly supplied by Iran.

Lerner said that Israel’s enemies were gaining “added value” in their increasing stockpiles of rockets. While the “Arab Spring was turning into an Islamic Winter,” said Lerner, it was not just the size of the rockets being stockpiled – Israel also faced the problem that the rockets had longer ranges and were able to be more precisely targeted.

It was for this reason that Israel was building a civilian home guard.


100,000 rockets to fire at once

Lerner told the assembled international editors and publishers that during the eight-day Pillar of Defence operation in 2012, Hamas and its proxies had fired some 1,500 rockets into Israel.

Lerner Peter JMS
PICTURED RIGHT: Lt Col Peter Lerner, told over 100 diaspora editors from over thirty countries at the Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem just two weeks ago

“Today, we face an estimated stockpile of 100,000 rockets,” he said. To put that into perspective, he said, this was more than most European countries had.

“They (Israel’s enemies) are preparing for the day that they unleash it all on us,” he said.

Hezbollah is the strategic forward guard of Iran, said Lerner, “right on our doorstep.” Hezbollah had the largest caches of rockets, he said, and that the IDF had identified over 100 villages where they were held. But, he added, although Israel knew exactly where these rockets are, they are hidden in bunkers under houses, schools and hospitals, “How do we target the rockets without injuring civilians,” he said, his frustration and that of the IDF clearly showing.


On the positive side…

There was a short-term positive aspect at this time, said Lerner, and that was that Hezbollah was propping up the Syrian regime at the behest of Iran.

Israel, in the mean tile was building their stockpiles of defensive rockets (Iron Dome) and increasing its infrastructure to be able to rapidly deploy and redeploy its resources.

Lerner said that Israel was not too worried about Hamas, however. “They don’t want to mess with us,” he said, and rather used their proxies to fire rockets. Circumstances change fast in Israel’s neighbourhood, as has been seen over the past week.


IDF’s new strategies for new threats…

Lt Col Peter Lerner said that the IDF Chief of Staff had evolved four new strategies for dealing with what the country perceived as future threats of a new type of unconventional warfare:

  1. People – they were deploying smaller and more nimble units who are being trained for the known, and educated to deal with the unknown;
  2. They had learned from their last foray into Lebanon that intelligence had to be of high quality and had to be able to be communicated to commanders on the ground. This had been a focus of IDF development, said Lerner, and today the situation is very different;
  3. The IDF had learned that it had to build both a defensive and an offensive capability – something that they were working towards; and
  4. The IDF Chief of Staff believed Israelis had two main advantages over any of their enemies:
    1. The quality of their people and equipment; and
    2. The IDF get no second chances. “We have to protect Israel’s existence,” said Lerner. 

We have no choice, he said, the IDF does not get second chance. How telling that is.

Lerners twitter account is

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