#1 PM Netanyahu Attends Ceremony to Mark the Completion of the Fence along
the Egyptian Border
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Wednesday, 2 January 2013),
attended the ceremony marking the completion of the fence along the Egyptian
border, the section between Kerem Shalom and the Eilat area. The
construction of the fence – 230 kilometers in length – took two years,
approximately half of the time that was originally planned, and cost
approximately NIS 1.6 billion. Last year, the phenomenon of infiltration
into Israel was reduced almost to nil
. In January 2012, 2,153 illegal work infiltrators entered Israel's cities,
as opposed to the 36 who entered last month, all of whom were placed in
detention. Last month included the first week in six years in which not even
one infiltrator crossed the fence. Work on the 12 kilometers of fence in the
Eilat area is expected to be completed within three months.
IDF Deputy Chief-of-Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, GOC Southern Command
Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo, Defense Ministry Director-General Udi Shani, Fence
Construction Authority head Brig.-Gen. Eran Ofir and Hagai Hadas, who was
appointed by Prime Minister to be responsible for repatriating the
infiltrators to their countries of origin
also attended today's tour and ceremony.
Maj.-Gen. Russo briefed Prime Minister Netanyahu on the fence and its
contribution to defending Israel's borders and noted that in addition to its
original purpose of blocking illegal work infiltrators, it also plays a main
role in preventing attempted infiltrations by terrorists. Brig.-Gen. Ofir
reviewed the construction of the fence and said, "Just as Iron Dome defends
Israel's skies, the fence is an iron wall defending Israel's border."
Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "For seven months, not one infiltrator has
reached Israel's cities. Just as we have stopped infiltration into Israel's
cities, so too will we succeed in the next mission – repatriating the tens
of thousands of infiltrators in Israel to their countries of origin. We have
already begun to do so. I have appointed Hagai Hadas to deal with the issue
and we can already see results of his efforts. We also need to complete the
work on the country's other borders." The Prime Minister told those in
charge of the project, "This is a great achievement. You did the impossible.
I would like to convey to you the gratitude of all Israelis."
#2 Defense Ministry Completes Major Section of the Fence on the Egyptian
(Communicated by MOD International Media Adviser Josh Hantman
The Defense Ministry, today (Wednesday, 2 January 2013), finished the main
section of the fence along the Egyptian border. The 230-kilometer stretch
of fence, from Kerem Shalom to Netafim, on the edge of the Eilat area, has
been constructed in approximately two years, halting the flow of illegal
infiltrators into Israel.
The new fence is made up of 45,000 tons of steel and quantities of earth
that could fill 1.67 million trucks.
The last 12-kilometer section of the fence in the mountainous Eilat area is
due to be completed in approximately three months.
In July 2010, the Government of Israel granted the Ministry of Defense (MOD)
the responsibility of constructing this border fence. The barrier will
prevent the unfettered flow of illegal infiltrators, the smuggling of drugs
and weapons, putting an end to a host of illegal trafficking activity while
securing Israel from the influx of terror elements. The task was entrusted
to the MOD because of its proven track record in developing national
infrastructure and leading other mega-projects.
A special administration, led by Brig.-Gen. Eran Ofir, worked in conjunction
with the engineering, construction and operations and assets divisions of
the MOD, under the constant supervision of Director-General Udi Shani.
Over one hundred contractors were involved in the project, in addition to
six hundred working groups, and over one thousand employees.
In order to ensure maximum efficiency, the work was conducted at several
sites simultaneously, seven days of the week, and sometimes even during the
night. The fence itself serves as an almost hermetic barrier to
unauthorized entry. It has sparked much interest from other countries
facing similar challenges of illegal infiltration, smuggling and terrorism.
The physical barrier is composed of:
A five-meter high fence (in certain areas it reaches seven meters)
A multi-layered barbed wire fence
A dirt/sand road
A patrol path, including an asphalt track
Communications infrastructure including information collection points,
cameras and radar.
The barrier stretches across a host of topographically challenging areas.
The border itself is almost a straight line crossing mountains, and about
250 valleys and river beds. The process has thus provided a host of
engineering challenges. Two of the river beds have the highest volumetric
flow rate in the country. Nahal Faran, for example, has a flow rate of 1150
cubic meters per second, while Nahal Nitzana recently broke a record with a
flow rate of 1410 cubic meters per second (for comparison, the River Jordan
has a flow rate of a mere 16 cubic meters per second!).
The power of these streams demanded creative engineering solutions and
sophisticated construction techniques to ensure the durability of the fence.
The mountainous region:
The final part of the barrier in the Eilat region – from the Taba border
crossing to the Netafim terminal (Highway 12) – is the most complex
engineering project with which the MOD has ever had to deal. The whole
route is characterized by jagged mountains that lacked basic access routes
for vehicles before the commencement of the project.
Israel's MOD attributes great importance to the conservation of the natural
environment. Therefore the construction of the barrier in this area is
being closely coordinated with the Nature and Parks Authority. This area is
a national park, and already, the fruits of this cooperation can be seen in
the changes that have been implemented to the route of the fence to protect
the natural environment, while staying as close as possible to the