Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Is Iron Dome a Failure? The IDF Explains

October 25, 2012 10:19 am 18 comments

Iron Dome CRAM launcher near the town of Sderot. Photo: wiki commons.

Of the 86 rockets that were launched from Gaza into Israel in recent days, only 8 were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system. This appears to be a relatively small success rate when considering the billions of dollars that went into its development. The Algemeiner wanted to know why, despite the plaudits and praise, we are still seeing images of destruction and suffering at the hands of missiles being launched from Gaza. IDF spokesperson, Captain Eytan Buchman, explained.

On how the system works: “Because of the quantity of rockets fired it would be unrealistic to try to intercept every rocket. So what it does is it projects where the rocket is expected to land based on the trajectory of the rocket. So if we identify that a rocket is going to land in a populated area, or some other strategic site we initiate the interception process. This process happens within 15-30 seconds. So within 15-30 seconds we have to identify a rocket launch, figure out a trajectory and then figure out the best path on which to send an interceptor missile.”

On why rockets are breaching Iron Dome: “Nobody expects a 100% success rate. These rockets are launched at such a rapid pace. There’s no air defense system that is capable of doing that. Iron Dome is one component in an over-arcing package that we use to stop the rocket fire. 8 rockets being intercepted out of 80 is a success. I don’t think that’s an injustice to the system.  When we deployed the system we knew it wouldn’t be 100% successful and you judge a system based on the expectations of that system.”

On whether or not it has been a success: “The first missile intercepted by Iron Dome was on April 7, 2011. It’s a very young system. We only have four batteries deployed. So for a system that’s only about a year and a half old we still have a lot to learn from it, a lot to tweak. And once we increase the number of batteries and the quality of batteries it will show itself to be more and more effective. The fact that were continually able to increase its abilities means it’s a system that’s paying off.”

On Criticism of its cost: “A lot of people don’t think the cost makes sense. The qassam rockets being fired cost $800, while the interceptor missiles cost $35,000 but the cost of the damage of a hit is far worse than that. So just today those 8 rockets could have landed and killed Israeli civilians. I think that justifies the system itself. And with these things as the systems are perfected the cost comes down.”


  • Robert M Soran-Schwartz

    No Iron Dome is not a failure. It is just a weapon that can’t keep up with better than primitive garage-made flying objects. And with battery-launched missiles.
    But is effective against David’s sling launched stones…

    The numbers given by IDF hide the fact that the Iron Dome lives from the totally missing accuracy of the self-made pseudo-missiles. Should the enemy get the cheapest industrially produced missiles and a mobile battery allowing to rapidly launch them, then the Iron Dome could be used as free-air monuments for state disinformation of its population.
    BTW: should the present primitive missiles from Gaza be upgraded in regard to their flight distance and should they be directed at citadine areas, then Iron Dome would become the biggest joke in Israeli military history.



  • Darin Leviloff

    A 10% success rate is good, but its not sufficient to justify unilateral disengagement from the West Bank which needs to be the ultimate aim of the system in the absence of any realistic possibility of a two-state solution in our lifetimes. And of course, if the Iranians get nuclear weaponry, and even one missile gets through Israeli defenses . . . . .

  • In diaspora America, the Kiddish cup may still overflow, but the Yiddisher cup has been dry for years.

    Remember the threat by the United States to withdraw its ‘military aid’ if Israel Aircraft Industries produced the Kfir C-2 jet fighter, competing with Boeing’s F-16? Replacing the Mirage with American warplanes may have cost Israel its survival. The Knesset surrendered, replacing the French Mirage with an American mirage. The mindset abets ALL Israel’s military vulnerabilities.

    Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Integrity does not follow political party lines. Some have it. Most do not. Israelis should remember 1956 Sinai and Torah’s mitzvah to ‘Obey G-d, not Goyim!

    Relying on America’s mercy brought Israel Obama’s Mursi.

    ‘Iron Dumb’ is fruit of the Military-Industrial Complex Dwight Eisenhower warned us about. The long history of using cheap Jewish blood to field-test overpriced Rube Goldberg contraptions is unnecessary when Goyishe blood is available elsewhere. So Muslim Obama has his excuse to liquidate Israel and the Jews.

    The billions of dollars of so-called ‘assistance’ that Israel’s enemies wave in front of unemployed U.S. voters come with a high mark-up and a higher price-tag.

    Like most toys Iron Dumb ships ‘batteries-not-included’.

  • Eytan Buchman here, who interviewed for this piece.
    As I explained above, the IDF didn’t try to intercept close to 86 rockets – usually because they were projected to fall in open areas. We can’t reveal success rates but of the 86 launched, we only even tried to intercept a handful. Suffice it to say that the record was nearly perfect.

    • Hi Eytan, Eric Ehrmann here. Thank you for sharing what seems to be a good track record. As an outsider, it is difficult not to look at the cost per stick of an Iron Dome as opposed to an el chapo Qassam. And the perfect storm bewed up by Israelo deveopers, the Obama White House, Panetta and industries who see the project as a boon to the defense industry during hard times. Maybe if the cost could be reduced to $10k a stick, it would look less like a boondoggle while continuing to save human lives. The following text is from Wikipedia…

      “Iron Dome has been criticized as ineffective in countering the Qassam threat for the southern city of Sderot, given the short distance and flight time between the much-attacked city and the rocket launching pads in the Gaza Strip.[75][79] Other anti-rocket systems, such as the Nautilus laser defense system, were argued to be more effective. From 1995 to 2005 the United States and Israel jointly developed Nautilus but scrapped the system after concluding it was not feasible, having spent $600 million. The US Navy continued R&D on the system. American defense company Northrop Grumman proposed developing a more advanced prototype of Nautilus, Skyguard.[79] Skyguard would use laser beams to intercept rockets, with each beam discharge costing an estimated $1,000-$2,000. With an investment of $180 million, Northrop Grumman claims it could possibly deploy the system within 18 months. Israeli defense officials have rejected the proposal, citing the extended timeline and additional costs. Officials also insist that with recent improvements to Iron Dome, the system is fully able to intercept Qassams.”

  • Reviewing the history of this project in the context of US and Israel defense industries seeking to maintain jobs and generating income in a global crisis economy, Iron Dome is an effort to use public fear in an attempt to create the perfect defense spending storm.

    Look at where the seed money came from. Look how the scheme got puffed up. J Street and K Street kick in. Bingo. There was talk of $50K a stick, $35K… still excessive and no skimming and scamming left behind.

    Calling Iron Dome a young system assumeses a future product life of decades, more billions that can be used for more sophisticated programs. The name in and of itself is an oxymoron. Why not Kryptonite Dome or Shalom Dome. The political reality is that 8 out of 80 sticks doing their job at $35K means that 72 sticks were duds or $2.5 million worth of dud product. Controversial military projects that were outide the box like the Harrier and Osprey had better track records

    The el cheapo Qassams are unpredictable at only $800. a pop. Better to invest in ground ops to root ot troublemakers. After all Britain lived through the blitz.

  • IMHO, the iron dome is functioning properly…the PTB just don’t want to make it too efficient…gotta’ prolong this conflict and ensure the maximum amount of damage on both sides, ya’ know…

    • Sergio HaDaR Tezza

      The Iron Dome has been just a window dressing that is not cost-efficient and certainly not fail-proof or even efficient in case of continuous shelling.
      It’s a “Dr. Feelgood” maneuver to silence people’s protest against the daily threat to their security and lives posed by the mere existence right next door of the largest terrorist enclave in the planet, created through a criminal withdrawal based on ethnic cleansing of the innocents to please the murderers and those who support them (Europe, etc.) and to avoid their criticism and pressure. Avoiding their criticism and pressure, rather than doing the right thing, has been the guiding motivation of those who favored the deportation of the Jews from the Gaza Strip (most of the goyim) and those who implemented it (Sharon, Olmert, Livni, Barak, Netanyahu, etc.).
      That’s why the Gaza operation of 2009 was abruptly concluded by Olmert BEFORE its conclusion with the destruction of the Hamastan of Gaza, and that’s why the whole South is not as important for Netanyahu & C. as the rest of the country and missiles, rockets and mortar shells keep on falling unabated on its citizens at the will of Hamas, which starts and stops when it feels, not because Israel makes them stop.
      A system of AUTOMATIC ARTILLERY FIRE TOWARDS THE SOURCE OF THE ATTACK, is what international law would allow and certainly would dissuade from shooting rockets, missiles and mortars at Israel, with its sheer price in lives of terrorists and their protectors.
      Only when shooting at Israel will be too expensive to bear in terms of lives will they stop.

  • The Iron Dome system as described in the article is not a winning formula over the long haul.
    A problem always needs to be attacked at it’s source to be effective, and the others who have commented all know that to be true.

    Sure, keep the Dome but make the price too expensive for these savages to continue with this type of behavior or all you are doing is encouraging them to find better ways to attack Israel.

  • Is this article a joke? Here’s a way to make the Iron Dome 100% effective — the IDF can obliterate Hamas and the rest of the Muslim terrorists in Gaza via death from above. Are you really waiting for these animals to get lucky and hit a school? Kill them now, they’re trying to kill you. Clowns.

  • a better way to deal with the rockets is to enter Gaza and, unlike in the past, destroy the enemy, push out many of the people that came to live in Gaza once Israel surrendered it to Hamas and bring back all the Jews who were forced out, allowing other Jews to come and live there as well. This is what we should do in Judea and Shomron, as well. The Iron Dome only makes sense as far as missiles fired from outside of Israel (e.g. Iran, Syria, Lebanon).

    • I partly agree with those who say Israel should go in to Gaza and wipe out Hamas. Similarly, the UK and US should go hard in Afghanistan and Pakistan and take out every last member of the Taliban. But it’s not that simple. If America dropped bombs indiscriminately on northern Pakistan, they would kill a lot of Taliban, but they would also kills girls like Malala Yousefzai, who defy the Taliban, and men like Malala’s father Zia’uddin, who also defy the Taliban and work to educate their daughters and make a new country. We cannot proceed thoughtlessly like that.

      And if Israel were to commit a massacre in Gaza, it would betray its own best principles and make a mockery of everything Judaism and Zionism have ever stood. When I engage in hasbara, I try to explain that Israel has not committed great massacres, let alone genocide. If Israel committed one now, the world would turn against it in a flash. Defending Israel is hard word, as you must all know. Again, I reiterate that wiping out Hamas, Hizbollah and the rest would be a blessing, not just for Israelis, but for Palestinians.. Perhaps there is a way (surely Fatah would kill Hamas for us), but that way is not carpet bombing or even another invasion that kills hundreds or thousands of innocent Palestinians.

  • E Pluribus Beagle

    It should be bolstered with firing one inexpensive unguided high explosive 155mm artillery round back at Gaza city for every projectile flying in to Israel.

    • Ron Holzwarth

      I agree with E Pluribus Beagle, that should be standard policy. That’s what any other nation would be doing in a similar situation.

      For a fact, firing rockets and mortars into United States territory would be met with a very fast and very firm response, one that would certainly be harsh enough to deter any more attacks.

      And, I shudder to think what would happen to anyone that fired rockets and mortars on China or Russia. That problem would never occur again, that’s for sure!

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Israel Jerry Seinfeld to Make Comedy Debut in Israel

    Jerry Seinfeld to Make Comedy Debut in Israel – Famed Jewish-American comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld is slated to make his comedic debut in Israel later this year. Seinfeld, who was born in Brooklyn to Jewish parents from the Ukraine and Syria, will perform in Tel Aviv’s Mitvtachim Menorah Arena on Dec. 19 as part of a world tour. The comedian is most known for his enormously popular NBC sitcom Seinfeld, which ran from 1989-1998 and is widely considered one of the greatest TV series of all time. […]

    Read more →
  • Food Israel New Video Shows American Kids Reviewing Israeli Food After Tasting Dishes for First Time (VIDEO)

    New Video Shows American Kids Reviewing Israeli Food After Tasting Dishes for First Time (VIDEO)

    A new video circulating online shows eight American children reacting — mostly positively — to their first taste of the famed Israeli eggplant salad/dip, known in Hebrew as “salat hatzilim” and in other parts of the Levant as baba ganoush. The clip, created by, features the youngsters trying a variety of exotic dishes from other countries as well, such as Hawaiian poi, Colombian pork belly and Russian borscht. The Israeli delicacies served include schnitzel, slices of pita, hummus and the baba ganoush salad. “If someone […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Pioneers/Philanthropists ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit

    ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit – Forbes magazine announced Tuesday that it will host its Under 30 EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Summit in Israel for the first time in April 2016. The conference is expected to bring together some 600 young entrepreneurs, with 200 from Europe, 200 from the U.S., and 200 from Israel. The summit has been hosted in Philadelphia for the past two years. It will include presentations, speeches, a pitch competition, and cultural immersion opportunities in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Beliefs and concepts What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David?

    What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David? –  “What’s that huge white bridal dress floating over the Tower of David?” That’s what visitors to Jerusalem’s Old City asked last week. The wedding gown, created by leading Israeli artist Motti Mizrachi, is part of the 2nd Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, an event that blew into town as the Sukkot holiday got underway. Mizrachi, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, created the dress that floats majestically over the Tower of David, the main exhibition site […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    Israel is a holiday destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. No matter the style of holiday you are after, Israel has the answer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, hike up mountains in the desert, visit religious and historical sites, eat your way through the country or just enjoy some retail therapy, your journey through Israel will be one to remember. While there are obviously so many things to see and do, here is a list of 10 of […]

    Read more →
  • Pioneers/Philanthropists US & Canada Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO

    Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO – Jewish American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren announced his plan to step down as chief executive officer of the renowned fashion brand. The head of Gap Inc’s Old Navy brand will take over the position. The 75-year-old Lauren, who founded Ralph Lauren Corp. in 1967, will continue to serve as executive chairman and will continue leading the fashion house’s design team, according to a statement by the company. After the announcement, Ralph Lauren shares rose 3.79 percent while Gap shares […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Sports US & Canada Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish boxer Dustin Fleischer, who said his quest is to become the first world champion descended from a Holocaust survivor, stayed unbeaten with a first-round knockout. Fleischer, nicknamed “The White Tiger,” moved to 4-0 with the defeat of Ira Frank on Saturday night in Beach Haven, New Jersey, near his home, he reported after the fight on his Facebook page. The 26-year-old welterweight has won all his bouts by knockout. Read full story at JTA.

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Pioneers/Philanthropists Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Renowned New York attorney Sandor (Sandy) Frankel, one of four trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was in Israel earlier this month to look at additional philanthropic options and to observe the progress of those endeavors already funded – to the tune of multi-millions. Frankel, who recently joined the prestigious Park Avenue law firm Otterbourg P.C., met with Israeli politicians and other bigwigs to get a sense from them about which projects in the country […]

    Read more →