Due to instability in Syria, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has decided to rebuild and fortify much of the northern border.
Work to reinforce the infrastructure of the entire Syrian border, which began two weeks ago, will include: building tens of kilometers of new fence; digging anti-personnel trenches; and deploying new reconnaissance equipment, quick response units, and a new early-warning system.
Instead of using civilian contractors, the IDF is using only soldiers from the Combat Engineering Corps. These servicemen will be using armored bulldozers and tractors, and working at a fast pace, to minimize their exposure to potential enemy fire. In addition, soldiers from the Egoz unit will serve to deter attacks.
The border had been relatively quiet since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, but has been attacked by pro-Palestinian protesters and infiltrators in the past two years on Naksa Day and Nakba Day anniversaries. It is now acutely sensitive because of the bloody civil war raging in Syria.
Previously, budget constraints had limited border work to a select few kilometers near the Quneitra crossing and the border town of Majdal Shams.
Each kilometer of new fence will cost NIS 6 million (some $1.5 million).
In a speech in Jerusalem this week, the deputy chief of the IDF General Staff, Yair Naveh, suggested that as events in Syria continue to spiral out of control, the likelihood of conflict increases.