Israel’s Plan to Smooth Troubled Waters

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“The Yakhont is a significant weapon and the navy knows how to provide a response for all different missile threats on every possible front,” said Rothberg.

As part of this protective front, the Israeli military is considering placing anti-missile systems on gas rigs due to be built in Israel’s EEZ in the coming years. The navy has already informed the gas exploration companies that they must install radar systems on their platforms. These measures are meant to counter attacks on the platforms from Hezbollah-fired anti-ship missiles as well as by “explosives-laden vessels.” The USS Cole was attacked by one such deadly suicide craft in 2000 that saw 17 American sailors killed, 39 wounded and “a 40-by-40-foot hole” blown in the ship’s side.

Besides attacks on the gas rigs, Israel fears that Hezbollah’s and al-Jihad’s possession of sophisticated anti-ship missiles may cause a serious problem with ship traffic to the Jewish state if used against merchant vessels. Such an attempt to blockade the Israeli coast would cause a serious disruption to the Israeli economy and military effort. Approximately 99 percent of Israeli imports, the Jerusalem Post reports, arrive by ship, “including ammunition and military hardware.”

“Navy assessments are that Hezbollah will try to attack cargo ships within a 30-kilometer radius of Israel in an effort to get commercial vessels to refuse to sail there during a war,” the Post states.

Also among the measures Israel believes its Islamist enemies may employ to blockade the Israeli coast are naval mines. Among the weapons reportedly smuggled into Gaza from Libyan warehouses after the downfall of Gaddafi, the possibility of naval mines being among them has generally been overlooked. Gaddafi’s navy is known to have possessed a store of such mines, which it used in the recent civil conflict to blockade the rebel port of Misrata. And Israel believes it is a very real possibility that some mines will eventually wind up in Gaza, if they are not there already. Even Egypt is worried about the Gaza terrorists’ use of naval mines since, if not anchored down, they could drift into Egyptian waters.

And it is not only attacks by irregular terrorist forces that justify the proposed purchase of the four new Israeli warships. Regular Turkish warships and aircraft menacingly shadowed, but did not interfere with, the transfer of an American gas rig from Israeli to Greek Cypriot waters last year. Turkey is angry that Greek Cyprus, Israel’s ally, is exploring for gas without including Turkish northern Cyprus. Turkey has also threatened to have its warships escort the next aid flotilla to Gaza, a threat it has yet to fulfill. And with a Muslim Brotherhood government becoming a reality in Egypt, the Israeli navy will also have to keep a closer eye on that country’s navy. The Egyptian navy is currently having two modern submarines built in Germany where Israel has purchased similar vessels.

“The navy will play a critical role on any front, or war,” said Rothberg.

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  • IranAware

    I have been thinking the US should donate the Enterprise in December when decommissioned for a floating base instead of the scrap yard.. A more fitting end for a proud ship than being cut into pieces or used as target practice

  • stern

    Oh dear, don't those pesky Joos know that they're not allowed to have oil or gas of their own? It must surely belong to the umma, right? Yes? Or else the Joos must have stolen it somehow and moved it into their territorial waters. Maybe they did it when they deployed that shark off the coast of Egypt?

  • Ronald Johnston

    Israel's only defense is going to be using nuclear weapons. No conventional weapons are going to be effective against the rabid muslims!!!!

    • Drakken

      Funny, you muslims don't build anything and you can thank us of European extraction for the 21st century and everything you enjoy.

  • Sage on the Stage

    Welcome to the 21st Century version of the Barbary pirate wars; the Barbary pirates are now called terrorists.
    And Israel's Navy has always been important to the Jewish state. A visit to the Israel Navy Museum, in Haifa, convinces visitors of that immediately.

    • Raymond in DC

      Indeed, I visited that Navy Museum on my last trip and walked through that first Israeli sub. (Somehow I don't think they'll let me walk through one of their new Dolphins.)

      To appreciate how important their Navy is, read the story of the Boats of Cherbourg and how they built their first anti-ship missiles – deriving the skills from engineering text-books as they could get no assistance from anyone. They went on to take out Egyptian and Syrian naval vessels in the war of 1973.

      But there's no end to the hostility of Israel's neighbors, now more heavily armed thanks to Iran. (And we shouldn't ignore an increasingly bellicose Turkey.) Israel will need more ships both to defends its new off-shore gas assets and to prevent any threats to Israel-bound shipping.

  • Sage on the Stage

    Somehow…I don't think so. Israel is stronger than ever, and it will be here in 25 years…50 years…100 years, as a vibrant, thriving democracy. But will the United States still exist, as a democratic republic?


    traitorhere, Your kind have been predicting the same crap for 60 years.

    Why don't you follow your furhers example and crawl into your bunker and blow your brains out.

  • UCSPanther

    Too bad for you, the Israelis have way better weapons than the barbarians who are their neighbours.

    Tavor TAR 21 > AK 47