Iron Dome: A Game Changer
In its fight to survive, Israel has a new weapon in its arsenal, a missile defense shield designated the Iron Dome interceptor system. Hamas fired approximately 1,500 short-to-medium range rockets on Israel from Gaza. They were intercepted with an 84% success rate, resulting in an astoundingly low level of Israeli civilian casualties. This new missile defense system provides confidence in Israel's ability to combat anything Iran might throw at them, while heightening despair among the rest of Israel's enemies.
It required the Israeli firms Elta, mPrest Systems, and Rafael only five years to develop Iron Dome. It can intercept rockets within an arc of 2.5 to 44 miles and can recognize when incoming rockets are headed for civilian population centers, ignoring missiles headed for empty ground. Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO), co-chairman of the House Missile Defense Caucus and the Israel Allies Caucus, told American Thinker, "The success of the Iron Dome Missile Defense System shows that Congress must continue to support Israel's defense system in the face of these deadly attacks." The U.S. Congress supports the Israeli effort by providing funding for the program. Lamborn inserted into the National Defense Authorization Act an increase of funding of $100 million to $200 million for Iron Dome over the next three years. Furthermore, Congressman Lamborn told American Thinker that he is hoping in future years "the cost will be brought down to an amazingly low figure and the technology will be improved."
The congressman has been a huge proponent of the Iron Dome program ever since he saw a demonstration while in Israel with a group of other congressmen. He described how the system works: "It has three parts: the missiles, the mobile command and control center, and the radar. The radar picks up the incoming rocket immediately and then a missile is sent out where it maneuvers right next to the incoming rocket and then explodes. Hopefully, the debris is over unfriendly territory."
He also feels that it is cost effective, approximately $100,000 per missile, but argues that the price is relative, considering that the missiles fired by Israel's enemies are headed toward major population centers including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FLA), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, believes that the Iron Dome system could possibly have had an impact on getting the Palestinians to agree to the cease-fire. "This frustrated Israel's enemies since it reversed the psychological impact. Imagine if a small entity like Hamas could show Israel's vulnerability by firing missiles into Tel Aviv; how that would have emboldened other enemies of Israel. Instead, these enemies are now thinking 'no matter what we try Israel will be able to come up with something.' Israel has shown they can protect itself."
This optimism can be seen in a statement made to Reuters by Yohanan Plesner, an opposition member of Parliament who sits on the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee. He told Reuters that the Iron Dome has lessened the threat from terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. "We have moved light years ahead in recent years, both in terms of preparation, instructions to the people, the whole way the municipalities operate." The success of Iron Dome also encourages Israel's leaders intheir conviction that the same concept can be used to destroy missiles from a long-range threat such as Iran. More advanced missiles such as the Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 run into the enemy rocket like an airplane collision, causing it to explode.
Throughout its history Israel has always faced incredible threats. Yet, they have come through with flying colors: there was the 1967 war where they had to fight on all fronts, the daring rescue of its citizens from Uganda in 1976, and now the Iron Dome system that easily handled a barrage of 1500 missiles. Iron Dome protected Israel from a large loss of life, but also gave Israel an advantage on the psychological and diplomatic front. It has allowed Israel to dictate the course of the conflict instead of reacting to it by being able to choose the timing, manner, and depth of its response. Iron Dome represents a game-changer in Israel's fight for survival.