By order of the Ministry of Defense and the Israel Defense Forces, Israel recently completed a major project to heighten a segment of the fence along its border with Egypt from five meters to eight meters.
While most fence manufacturers say that vinyl fencing is five times stronger than wood and should be preferred in domestic applications, this high-tech security fence is made of steel and equipped with electronic monitoring devices like surveillance cameras, radar, and motion detectors.
The 242-kilometer border fence, which runs from Kerem Shalom, near the Gaza Strip border, to Eilat, was completed in 2014 in order to curb the amount of illegal immigration and trade that had been occurring between Israel and Africa in recent years. The project, known by the name “Hourglass,” was headed by Brigadier General Eran Ofir and the Department of Engineering and Construction at the Ministry of Defense.
In 2010, nearly 12,000 undocumented immigrants crossed the border into Israel, sparking a need to reinforce the border. The construction of the fence was expedited following the southern Israel cross-border attacks in 2011, as well as the Egyptian Revolution in early 2011. By its completion in 2014, that number had been slashed to just 14.
The construction of the fence proved to be effective in curbing the amount of illegal border crossings; however, the fence was not tall enough to halt illegal activity completely. By 2015, the number of illegal crossings caught by security cameras rose to 213. These migrants used ladders as a primary method to cross the border without detection, sparking the need for additional surveillance equipment to monitor these high-traffic immigration regions.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that increasing the height of the fence as well as adding additional motion detection security measures has “significantly curbed the flow of illegal infiltration into Israel, with only 11 successful attempts to cross the fence throughout 2016.”
So far, 17 kilometers of the fence have been raised along high-traffic zones.
The additional security systems are also being used to identify smuggling routes between Sinai and Israel, which might require additional surveillance systems in these high-risk areas.