Jerusalem – Israel has been urged to prepare for ballistic missile threats from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

A senior defense executive warned that Israel’s military and Defense Ministry might not have been allowed to prepare its missile defense umbrella to combat possible future threats from Middle East states, which are not directly threatening Israel at this time, due to political constraints.

The executive, who works closely with the Defense Ministry, said the threat could come from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which have been developing or procuring medium- and intermediate-range missiles.

“We are not paying attention to what is going on in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey,” Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) vice president Yair Ramati said.

Mr. Ramati, who for years headed IAI’s Arrow missile defense program, cited Turkey’s growing missile and rocket capabilities.

He said Ankara has been acquiring U.S. and Chinese systems as well as developing Turkish weapons.

This included the Chinese-origin 302 mm rocket, with a range of 150 kilometers.

The Israel Defense Ministry has never cited Egypt or Turkey as threats. Egypt has maintained a peace treaty with Israel since 1979, and Turkey was regarded as a strategic ally of the Jewish state from 1996 until 2008. Over the last year, Turkey increased ties with neighboring Iran and Syria.

In a presentation to the International Aerospace Conference and Exhibition-Israel on Nov. 17, Mr. Ramati said Egypt and other Arab states could constitute missile threats by 2020. He said Saudi Arabia, concerned over Iran’s military modernization effort, was expected to replace its Chinese-origin intermediate-range CSSS2 for an advanced modern ballistic missile.

Yet, leading strategists in Israel forget that Saudi Arabia remains in a state of war with Israel. Saudi Arabia is the only neighboring country contiguous to Israel to have never signed a peace treaty or even an armistice with Israel since 1948.

Mr. Ramati stated clearly that Israeli missile defense exercises do not take the Egyptian, Saudi and Turkish capabilities into account.

He suggested that the Defense Ministry and military were under political constraints from the government.

“Are these scenarios politically correct?” Mr. Ramati asked.

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.