Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Iron Dome is proving its worth

Aharon Lapidot

Much as in Operation Pillar of Defense and in the almost two years since, Iron Dome saved the day. Over 100 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel on Tuesday, with 40 of them raining down in the span of just one hour on Tuesday night, from Ashdod to Ramat Hasharon, from Beersheba to Beit Shemesh, and even farther.
Only one rocket achieved its goal, hitting and damaging a building in Ashdod. A handful of rockets landed in open areas, including in the greater Jerusalem area. The rest were successfully intercepted by Iron Dome, and no injuries were reported.
In the wake of Operation Pillar of Defense, many commentators attempted to question Iron Dome's success rate, which the IDF Spokesperson's Unit pegged at 85 percent, and criticized its performance. Thankfully, the military dismissed them and the Defense Ministry continued funding the program, which has proved itself once more.
Despite the grouped rocket fire, the system intercepted every rocket believed to threaten lives or property. Truth be told, there is no need for learned commentary -- the public sees the results with its own eyes.

This cannot be taken for granted. Think about what our life here would look like if all other systems in Israel operated on the same level as Iron Dome, and with the same success rate. So far, Hamas has no way to counter Iron Dome, meaning it does what it is supposed to do.
Naturally, no system is foolproof and if the rocket salvos continue at this rate, one or two rockets may breach the shield, and may -- heaven forbid --- cause casualties. But in the grand scheme of things, Iron Dome dramatically reduces the potential number of casualties to a minimum, and with it public panic.
As such, Iron Dome is a game changer, in the sense that the lack of casualties means that decision makers can consider their options free of public pressure, affording them much greater leeway. Iron Dome provides a protective umbrella under which the IDF can operate more freely, and since it is a defense system by nature, even the international community cannot fault it.
We owe thanks for this unique system first and foremost to the Israeli Air Force's aerial defense units, which operate it, as well as to its team of developers, headed by Col. (res.) Daniel Gold, who against all odds and despite harsh criticism by the State Comptroller's Office, insisted on completing the project; to then-Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who refused to listen to his critics and gave the project the green light; and to Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the project's main contractor, for producing such a fine system.

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