Northern border fence subject to grave neglect

Israel remains vigilant vis-à-vis volatile situation in Damascus, but tour along Israeli side of Syrian border reveals outdated fence, defense systems

The defense establishment is on high alert on the northern front, but while Israel remains vigilant as to the developments in Syria, it seems that the massive deployment of advanced defense systems on the southern border, has yet to echo through to its northern counterpart.

The majority of the northern border fence, Ynet learned Thursday, has been grossly neglected and has not been renovated since 1975.

רווח מסוכן בין הכביש לציר הטשטוש שגרם לתאונות (צילום: יואב זיתון)

Rickety roads - Photos: Yoav Zitun

The defense establishment began upgrading the border with Syria after the events of the 2011 Nakba day, which saw the part of the fence bordering with Majdal Shams compromised.

The new fence erected along the breached segments includes a double fence – but it stretches only across eight of the 80 kilometers that make up the Israel-Syria border.

חייל עוסק בתיקון הגדר (צילום: יואב זיתון)

Soldier repairs electronic border fence - Photos: Yoav Zitun

A tour along other parts of the border discovered rusted fences, an outdated alert system which requires daily maintenance, a narrow, rickety and unmaintained road – which imposes a low speed limit on IDF vehicles for safety reasons, and topographical blind spots.

Defense sources told Ynet that the new fence was built where the existing fence was compromised, adding that the IDF funded the project in full, to the amount of NIS 56 million (roughly $15 million).

“Upgrading one kilometer of border fence costs million. Upgrading the Syrian border fence is not currently planned because there are more urgent security needs, and because there has been no cabinet decision to that effect.”

Still, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently instructed the defense establishment to present plans to upgrade the entire eastern border, starting with the Jordanian fence.

 

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Yoav Zitun

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