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Citizen devotion to country's survival key to Israel's defense: Envoy

04/21/2024 04:40 PM
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Israel's top representative to Taiwan Maya Yaron. CNA file photo
Israel's top representative to Taiwan Maya Yaron. CNA file photo

Taipei, April 21 (CNA) Israeli's success in defending itself from a recent Iranian drone and missile attack was due not only to its efficient air defense system but also to its citizens' commitment to the survival of their country, an Israeli diplomat has said.

In an interview with CNA on April 17, Israel's top representative to Taiwan Maya Yaron said her country's Iron Dome missile defense was key to the successful defense of Iran's "unprecedented" drone and missile attack on Israel on April 13.

Yet beyond the technology and the preparations Israel has made for its defense, "in the end it all comes to the human spirit," Yaron said.

"There is a lot of commitment from citizens to the survival of our country," said Yaron, the head of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei (ISECO), which represents Israelis interests in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties.

The bottom line is that there are about 50 Muslim countries worldwide, and there is only one single Jewish country, according to the envoy.

"We have nowhere else to go and that means that each and every one of us Israelis feel the commitment to protect our homeland," she said.

Iran's attack was the first-ever direct attack by Iran from its soil on Israeli territory.

Explosions are seen in the skies of Tel Aviv, following the attack from Iran in Israel on April 14, 2024. Photo: Anadolu Agency
Explosions are seen in the skies of Tel Aviv, following the attack from Iran in Israel on April 14, 2024. Photo: Anadolu Agency

Iran said it was in response to the attack on its diplomatic presence in Damascus at the beginning of April, which it blamed on Israel. Israel has not confirmed or denied being involved in the attack.

Israel is also under criticism from Iran and the international community for its continuous large-scale attacks on Gaza, which have killed 34,000 and wounded 77,000 others, according to health authorities under the Hamas-run Gaza government.

Israel has argued that its attacks are defensive acts in response to the militant group Hamas' killings and kidnappings of more than 1,000 Israeli citizens in October 2023.

Yaron said there were more than 350 drones and missiles launched on April 13, and that according to Israel's military, "99 percent" of the projectiles fired by Iran were intercepted by Israel and its partners, with only "a small number" of ballistic missiles reaching Israel.

Asked if there was a possibility for Israel to sell the highly-efficient air defense system to Taiwan that is also facing a significant missile threat from China, the envoy said she was "not sure of that" as the system was developed by an Israeli company.

"But I think that there are other issues that we can probably cooperate on and that will be very beneficial to Taiwan," she said.

For instance, the envoy said, the Israeli people's high spirit in protecting their country is "coming through education from a very young age."

"And this is something that we can probably have a good exchange [with Taiwan] about, and we can discuss how you create that type of solidarity within the people," Yaron said.

Currently the two sides already have a pen pal project in place, for young school children in Taiwan and Israel to exchange their respective cultures in English, the envoy said.

Facilitating more frequent and multilevel exchange between two sides is one major mission for herself, Yaron said, who took up the post as ISECO chief in August 2023.

(By Novia Huang and Joseph Yeh)

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