1. IDF Makes History as Woman to Become Major General
Brig.-Gen. Orna Barbivai, deputy head of the IDF Human Resources Directorate, will soon become the first female officer to be promoted to Major General, The Jerusalem Post reported. Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen Benny Gantz recommended Barbivai’s appointment, and it was approved by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Barbivai has previously served as head of Human Resources in the Ground Forces Command as well as the head of the IDF Adjutancy Corp. “There is no rank that is too heavy for a woman’s shoulders and there is no doubt that Brig.-Gen. Barbivai was appointed because of her talents,” said Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni.
2. U.S.-Israel Defense Collaboration Accelerates
Recent years have witnessed a tectonic increase in defense cooperation between the United States and Israel, The Washington Times reported. “Consultation is more important” to the two nations than ever, said Arieh Herzog, head of the Israeli Missile Defense Organization. President Obama has pointed to Iron Dome, Israel’s missile defense system that is partially funded by the United States, as “a powerful example of American-Israeli cooperation, which has already intercepted rockets from Gaza and helped saves Israeli lives.” The United States has invested nearly $1 billion in U.S.-Israeli missile defense cooperation since 2008.
3. Arrow Air Defense System May be Rushed into Deployment
Arrow III, Israel’s upgraded air defense system designed to blow up ballistic missiles in space, may be deployed before its 2014-15 target date, Reuters reported. Partly funded by the United States, Arrow III will be an important safeguard against long-range missiles from Iran and Syria. A senior military officer explained that increased turmoil throughout the Middle East accounts for the earlier target date. The Israeli Air Force is also working to combine Arrow III with U.S. missile defense systems, such as the seaborne Aegis ballistic interceptor.
4. Israel Showcases its Impressive Collection of Defenses
The IDF opened a heavily guarded military base recently to foreign reporters to showcase Israel’s technological advancements as well as to emphasize the threats Israel faces from rockets and missiles, The New York Times reported. Gen. Doron Gavish, commander of the Air Defense Corps, explained that during the past 10 years Israel has been developing a “basket of tools” in order to contend with changing threats throughout the Middle East. Other senior military officers described a “new era” in defense now that Israel’s enemies are primarily utilizing rockets and missiles against the civilian population. With the shift in threats, Israel’s new focus is on active air defense and early warning.
5. U.S. to Help Israel Buy More Iron Dome Batteries
The Pentagon has announced plans to help Israel buy four more Iron Dome batteries, The Jerusalem Post reported. Iron Dome, a mobile air defense system, launches radar-guided interceptor missiles from a firing platform. Israel first deployed Iron Dome two months ago to intercept rockets fired from Gaza at civilian population centers in Israel. U.S. Army Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency Director, believes that “the United States benefits from understanding and studying exactly how they’ve been successful with the Iron Dome system.”