The request comes amid reports of a regional alliance between Israel and Mideast countries against Iran.
By: WIN Staff
Israel plans to ask President Joe Biden to approve the delivery of a “game-changing” Israeli laser-based air defense system to Arab countries seeking to fight Iran, an Israel’s Channel 12 News reported on Monday.
Channel 12 News said that the Iron Beam system, whose prototype was unveiled last year, would be delivered to the UAE and “likely also to Saudi Arabia.” The system is still years away from becoming operational.
The news comes on the heels of reports of secret, U.S.-brokered talks between Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Egypt aimed at forming a regional alliance against Iranian aerial threats.
Saudi and Qatari participation is significant, as neither of the countries formally recognizes Israel.
A U.S. official said earlier this month that President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East next month would include discussions on “new innovations between our countries that use laser technologies to defeat missiles and other airborne threats.”
On Monday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz seemed to confirm this.
“We are building our broad partnership with more countries in the region to ensure a secure, stable and prosperous Middle East. Among other things, this also includes aerial defense,” Gantz said.
He expressed his hope that Biden’s visit “will have a positive influence and maybe even bring a breakthrough in our ability to act against Iranian aggression in the region.”
Israel is in talks with the U.S. Defense Department to explore American partnership with the Iron Beam system. According to Hebrew media reports, during his visit, Biden will visit the Palmachim Air Base, where the IDF will give him a presentation on the Iron Beam’s capabilities.
The laser system has successfully intercepted missiles, drones, mortars, and anti-tank rockets during tests in April. But it is still years away from becoming operational.
A laser defense system would be significantly less expensive to maintain than the current Iron Dome. While the Qassam rockets used by Hamas are said to cost $300-$800 apiece, one Iron Dome interceptor missile costs around $50,000.
Outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has described the Iron Beam as a “game changer” that will “bankrupt” Israel’s enemies.
In other news, WIN also reported on Tuesday that Israel is poised to earn some $50 billion in tax revenues and become a key player in the world energy market, as Europe seeks to obtain natural gas from other sources after cutting off purchases from Russia, says a senior executive in an Israeli energy company.
Yossi Abu, CEO of the NewMed Energy corporation, told Israel Hayom that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and ongoing global financial downturn have put Israel in an advantageous position.
“The world economic crisis dramatically increased the importance of Israeli natural gas, not only for Israel but also on the regional level – for Jordan and Egypt,” Abu told Israel Hayom.
“If we hadn’t made these discoveries, Israeli citizens would be paying at least 60% more for their electricity bill.”
According to Abu, “in Europe, the price of electricity increased…by 300%, because the price of natural gas increased dramatically. In Israel, on the other hand, the price of natural gas is roughly $4.5-$5 per heat unit, while in Europe and Asia it’s $30. Today Israel has some of the lowest natural gas prices in the world, and this is reflected in the citizens’ electricity [bills.]”
Abu’s company partners with the Israeli government on the extraction and production of natural gas from offshore oil fields, under a model which sees Jerusalem collect some 50 percent of the revenue from energy exports.