Israel's Public Security Minister says Lieberman will be next PM

Israel's Public Security Minister says Lieberman will be next PM
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Donia Al-Watan
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch predicted on Saturday that Israel's current Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will possibly be the next Prime Minister of Israel if new elections were to take place.

Aharonovitch of the Yisrael Beytenu party, which was formed by Lieberman, said: "Lieberman will be the prime minister; he is the kind of leader who can lead the country." He added that he does not see elections on the horizon, but when elections do take place he is convinced that Yisrael Beytenu will be stronger.

Israel's current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said recently that he will participate in the upcoming elections with Lieberman's party because he intends to compete for presidency in the next election.

Aharonovitch's statements came during a cultural event in the Israeli city of Beersheba during which he also remarked on the recent attack on the Gaza Strip.

Aharonovitch said he is not optimistic that the indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinian resistance factions which are scheduled to resume in Cairo in an attempt to stabilize the truce will succeed.

He stressed Israel's refusal to accept any breach of the calm no matter how small, stating its determination to respond to any such breaches. He also said: "The international community provided legitimacy to Israel to defeat Hamas if we have entered into the Gaza Strip." He added that criticism should not be directed to the army or the chief of staff but to the politicians, the cabinet and to the government, pointing out that "the army has followed the political level orders".

In response to a question regarding the security agencies demands to increase their budget by billions of shekels, Aharonovitch noted that the budget has been reduced by 2 percent which is equivalent to 66 million shekels, adding that "the security apparatus demands are exaggerated".

In light of the continued demands to increase the security budget, the army is refusing to disclose the locations where Palestinian missiles have fallen in Israel, possibly fearing the efficacy of the Iron Dome, the system created to intercept Palestinian rockets, will be assessed.

Military analyst Yossi Melman revealed Saturday that the Israeli army refused to disclose the number of rockets that fell in the Israeli cities and settlements during the recent aggression on the Gaza Strip, explaining in an article posted to Maariv news site that this makes evaluating the Iron Dome system more difficult. Senior officials who worked in developing the dome have acknowledged its failure to intercept missiles.

He noted that the cost of the Tamir interceptor missiles launched by the Iron Dome during the war on the Gaza Strip exceeded $150 million, noting that the price of a Tamir interceptor missile is $100 thousand and given that more than one interceptor missile was launched towards a single Palestinian rocket, at least 1,500 Tamir inceptor missiles were launched during the latest Israeli military offensive.

Melman added: "The army admitted to having intercepted 735 rockets out of more than four thousand missiles fired towards southern and central Israel while ignoring missiles, which fell in open areas." Melman quoted an anonymous military source as saying: "The Iron Dome was not prepared in the first place to protect the citizens, but with the increasing pressure from people, it was installed on the outskirts of cities."

The source reportedly said: "If a missile struck a house in a settlement, the dome does not consider it a failure because the rocket did not fall, but originally hit its target." He justified this by stating that the dome was not designed to protect that house in the first place.

Melman said the dome's weak point lies in intercepting short-range rockets and mortar shells that hit the settlements in less than 30 seconds. These rockets, according to Melman, accounted for half of the total rockets fired from Gaza during the war.