Once again, Iron Dome is a strat­egy-changer

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY AN­SHEL PF­EF­FER

THE SUC­CESS of the Iron Dome mis­sile de­fence sys­tem through­out Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge has al­lowed Is­rael to hold back, for now, from launch­ing a ground of­fen­sive in Gaza.

The rocket shield has also al­lowed Is­rael to ac­cept Egyp­tian pro­pos­als for a cease­fire, even when it was clear that Ha­mas would con­tinue fir­ing rock­ets.

The oper­a­tion be­gan last week with seven Iron Dome bat­ter­ies de­ployed in south­ern and cen­tral Is­rael. Since then, two new bat- ter­ies have been added.

These bat­ter­ies, along with other ad­vanced sen­sors the IDF has around Gaza, pro­vide an early-warn­ing sys­tem de­tect­ing any rocket be­ing launched, as well as de­ter­min­ing in sec­onds where it is head­ing, sound­ing the mis­sile warn­ings in that re­gion and, if the point of im­pact is as­sessed as a built-up area launch­ing “Tamir” in­ter­cep­tors to de­stroy it.

In the first days of the oper­a­tion, the De­fence Min­istry cal­cu­lated the in­ter­cep­tion suc­cess at over 90 per cent. In around a dozen cases, mis­siles got through and hit build­ings. The rel­a­tively small num­ber of in­juries was as a re­sult of the res­i­dents tak­ing shel­ter on time.

Of­fi­cers in the IDF’s Home Com­mand have warned that the im­pres­sive re­sults of Iron Dome in­ter­cep­tions, while sav­ing lives, could also cause a more lax at­mos­phere among Is­raelis. They stressed that no de­fence sys­tem is fail-proof and res­i­dents in ar­eas where warn­ings are heard are at risk if they rely on Iron Dome and don’t take cover as the sirens are heard.

The ef­fi­ciency of the de­fence shield is one of the main fac­tors caus­ing Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu to limit the Is­raeli re­sponse to air-strikes.

On Tues­day morn­ing, when the se­cu­rity cab­i­net agreed to the cease­fire pro­posal and paused the air strikes for nearly six hours, Ha­mas and Is­lamic Ji­had launched salvo af­ter salvo for the next few hours un­til Is­rael de­cided to re­sume its at­tacks on Gaza. The pause how­ever, strength­ened in­ter­na­tional sup­port for the Is­raeli oper­a­tion and could never have been main­tained for so long with­out Iron Dome.

PHOTO: AP

The de­fence sys­tem in ac­tion

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