•■ • •
"hundreds." An anthrax plague
would linger for "at least weeks."
Botulism would hang in the air
for "days." Anthrax, he says, "is
very difficult to decontaminate."
But what about the American-
made Patriot defensive missiles,
deployed with such fanfare in Is-
rael and Saudi Arabia in 1991?
"The Patriot was useless," an-
swers General Rotem. "It pro-
vides very good anti-aircraft
defense, which is what it was de-
signed for, but it cannot deal with
missiles. It did not score one sin-
gle hit here on a Scud. It was good
for the morale of the population.
And the Arrow "star wars"
missile, currently being devel-
oped by Israel with millions of
American dollars? The general
remains skeptical. "Suppose all
the money they need is forth-
coming," he says. "Suppose the
Arrow can do all the manufac-
turers say, they are still talking
about 60 percent success. What
about the other 40 percent? With
bacteriological weapons, a very
few would be enough against Tel
How, then, can Israel protect
its 5 million citizens, most of
them concentrated in the urban
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estimates that a
armed with anthrax
casualties if fired on
centers of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem
and Haifa? "Deterrence is the
only answer," contends General
Rotem. "That means the deter-
mination of the government of Is-
rael to use what it has available."
That sounds like nuclear
saber-rattling, but the general de-
clines to spell it out. It is widely
assumed that it was Israel's nu-
clear option that stopped Saddam
from resorting to unconvention-
al warheads four years ago.
In the worst case, what could
Israel do, here on the ground? If
it can't stop the missiles, can it
mitigate their damage?
"Potential protection," suggests
Dr. Shoham, "would include an-
tibiotics [administered before or
after an attack], vaccination, anti-
serum, bacteriological deconta-
minants, protective clothing and
"Safe areas or mass evacuation
would not be practical, but sealed
rooms could be effective if prop-
erly prepared. The most practi-
cal approach would be protective
clothing and masks. The gas
masks already issued to all Israel
residents would be adequate."
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