Ex-minister: Israel needs better defenses

JERUSALEM, March 24 (UPI) -- A former Israeli defense minister says the country's missile defense system is not adequate.

Amir Peretz said Israel needs between 20 and 26 Iron Dome missile-defense batteries but is planning to install only 13, the Jerusalem Post reported. He also said the system should be used to protect cities, not military bases.


"With all due respect, the bases were not meant to be covered by the Iron Dome," Peretz said. "There's no way that bases will be preferred over civilians."

U.S. officials said last year they might reconsider aid for purchases of the Iron Dome system if it is used to defend military targets.

Peretz, a member of the Knesset, or parliament, was defense minister and Labor Party leader for about a year in 2006 and 2007. He resigned from the Cabinet after losing a leadership election.

He said it would be better for Israel if the United States launches a military attack on Iranian nuclear sites.

"We should prefer an outside actor does it because Israel doesn't need to be confronted by the whole Muslim world," Peretz said.


"We know that a minute after an attack, it will be comfortable for the Western countries to point a blaming finger at Israel. If it's an American actor, the crisis will be smaller. We need to think about the day after."

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