The real threat facing Israel is not long-range missiles, but small rockets, former Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, who heads the Institute for National Security Studies, said on Thursday at a conference on "Israel's Homefront Preparedness."
"Israel is not threatened by 200,000 missiles, as previously claimed. It is under threat of perhaps 1,000 effective missiles and another 9,000 long-range rockets, but the rest of the 190,000 rockets in the region are inaccurate and short-range," said Yadlin, who served as the IDF’s chief of Military Intelligence from 2006-2010. "Let's put the threat into perspective, and stop talking about missiles and start talking about rockets."
"Worrying over 200,000 missiles is not serious, it is not professional, and we will be putting our resources in the wrong places," he added.
Yadlin, who was also a former deputy commander of the Israel Air Force, has logged about 5,000 flight hours and flew more than 250 combat missions behind enemy lines. He participated in the 1973 Yom Kippur War and in the bombing of the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981.
Commenting on possible future confrontations with Israel's enemies, Yadlin admitted that missiles would strike the Gush Dan (central Israel) area. "A few more [would strike] than the number that hit in 1991 [during the Gulf War] - but today we have the Arrow [anti-missile interception system], better intelligence and a better Air Force. A large number of the rockets will be stopped, but some of them will indeed hit Gush Dan and for this we have to be prepared."
"When missiles start hitting Tel Aviv - and this will happen - and people will be killed, Israel's legitimacy to take action will drastically increase and our ability to do things that we have not done until today will be much greater," Yadlin added.
In terms of solutions, Yadlin highlighted several factors, among them a possible Israeli offensive. "The vision for those in charge of Israel's defense systems should be to launch a flyover modeled after the "Moked" operation - to take away from the enemy this exact asset [missiles] against which we are trying to defend ourselves. The combination of precise intelligence and precise weaponry, which we possess and they don't, can enable us to eliminate most of our enemy's advantages."
The Moked operation (Operation Focus), was an Israeli large-scale, surprise air strike that signalled the opening of the Six-Day War. As part of the operation, nearly 200 jets took off from Israel in a massive air strike against Egypt's airfields. During the operation, the majority of the Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian Air Forces were destroyed.