Brains Behind Israel’s Iron Dome ‘Not Putting All the Eggs in One System’

March 7, 2013 1:24 am 0 comments

The Iron Dome battery in Ashkelon. Photo: Israel Defense Forces.

WASHINGTON, DC—Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted nearly 400 Gaza rockets last November alone, with an 85 percent success rate, amid the Israel Defense Forces’ Operation Pillar of Defense. But the brains behind the system isn’t resting on his laurels.

“I’m realistic, so I’m not putting all the eggs in one system, [even though] it had much success,” IDF Brig. Gen. Dr. Danny Gold, who had the initial idea for the Iron Dome, said in an interview with JNS.org at the 2013 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference. “I did my job, I developed many other systems. So [the Iron Dome] helped Israel to probably prevent a massive ground operation and war, but it’s not alone.”

Gold was referring to other joint U.S.-Israel missile interception systems such as the David’s Sling (still in development), Arrow 2 (operational) and Arrow 3 (still in development). Asked by an audience member during an AIPAC breakout session to compare and contrast David’s Sling to Iron Dome, Gold explained that the concept of protecting Israel comes in “layers”—with David’s Sling providing the second layer (after the first layer of Iron Dome) to protect against long-range rockets and cruise missiles.

Arrow 3, considered to be the most innovative and revolutionary anti-missile system in the world, was successfully tested in central Israel on Feb. 25. The system is meant to bolster Israel’s ability to intercept long-range ballistic missiles, and is designed to intercept such missiles outside the Earth’s atmosphere in space.

The Iron Dome’s success—and the $275 million that the U.S. has contributed so far to the system—made it a natural source of pride for both American and Israeli officials at the AIPAC conference. Outgoing Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said at a plenary session Sunday that the system is “like hitting a bullet with another bullet.”

At Monday morning’s AIPAC plenary, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden recalled a time when he needed to explain to audiences what Iron Dome was, how it works, and why the U.S. should fund it. That is no longer the case following Operation Pillar of Defense, according to Biden.

“The world saw firsthand why it was and remains so critical,” Biden said of the Iron Dome. “For too long, when those sirens blared in the streets of the [Israeli] cities bordering Gaza, the only defense had been a bomb shelter. But late last year Iron Dome made a difference.”

Asked how the Iron Dome’s results so far have compared with his expectations of the system, the IDF’s Gold said, “I am very content of course, I strive for the top, 100 percent, but it is very good, it is a breakthrough.”

“We are working on the second generation and the third generation, against other scenarios, more sophisticated threats, and we will update the system all the time,” he told JNS.org.

November’s Israel-Gaza conflict saw Palestinian rockets land in the vicinity of the large cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, rather than being limited to southern Israel. It marked the first time a rocket alarm was sounded in Tel Aviv since the Gulf War in the early 1990s, and the first time such an alarm was ever sounded in Jerusalem.

As a result, the fifth Iron Dome battery was installed near Tel Aviv ahead of schedule. How will the system continue to protect Israelis if more powerful Palestinian rockets, such as the Iranian-developed Fajr-5, continue to penetrate deeper into the Jewish state?

“You just put a battery there, and it is ok,” Gold said.

Gold told the AIPAC breakout session that the Iron Dome is a positive development for both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“You’re not just saving Israeli lives, you save also Hamas lives and Syrian lives because there is no more war [as a result of the system],” Gold said.

But during wartime, the Iron Dome has no margin for error, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said at Monday night’s AIPAC plenary.

“Make no mistake. The Iron Dome has to be right 100 percent of the time, or Israelis die,” Cantor said.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Opinion Robert Gates’ Memoir is a Jaw-Dropping Read (REVIEW)

    Robert Gates’ Memoir is a Jaw-Dropping Read (REVIEW)

    Former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates’s memoir follows the classic form, telling the story of his years at the Pentagon during the Bush and Obama administrations. He focuses on what he did and experienced personally as secretary, neither writing a broad policy treatise nor recounting the entire history of the administrations in which he served. In so doing, Gates provides penetrating insights about the inner workings of US national security decision-making. Had I been George W. Bush, I would [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews The Media, Israel, and Anti-Semitism (REVIEW)

    The Media, Israel, and Anti-Semitism (REVIEW)

    Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed from A-Z by Lee Bender and Jerome Verlin (Pavilion Press, Philadelphia, Pa. 2013) Sophocles said, “What people believe prevails over truth,” Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed from A-Z is ideal for the arm chair reader who would like a basic grasp of the terms used in the mainstream media’s presentation of the Arab-Israeli situation as is reported today. This is a book whose time has come. This is a book where the reader gains a [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs William Shatner’s One Man Show Keeps Him in the Limelight (INTERVIEW)

    William Shatner’s One Man Show Keeps Him in the Limelight (INTERVIEW)

    JNS.org – On Thursday, audiences around the country can feel what it is like to be William Shatner, the Jewish actor best known for his portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk on “Star Trek.” Shatner’s one-man show “Shatner’s World”—which was on Broadway and toured Canada, Australia, and the United States—will be presented in nearly 700 movie theaters nationwide for one night only on April 24. Sponsored by Fathom Events and Priceline.com (for whom Shatner has famously served as a pitchman), [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews The Origins of Palestinian Refugee Relief Efforts (REVIEW)

    The Origins of Palestinian Refugee Relief Efforts (REVIEW)

    Romirowsky and Joffe’s book Religion, Politics and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief is an important volume for those interested in truly understanding the origins of the Palestinian refugee issue. Utilizing a treasure trove of newly released documents, the authors link UNRWA’s (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine) origins to the Quakers/American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). For those readers who thought they knew most of the Middle East story, Romirowsky and Joffe’s version provides another twist. The authors meticulously [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    The Israel National soccer team could be facing a World Cup ban, and other soccer sanctions, unless it alleviates travel restrictions and increases field access for Palestinian players and coaches. The head of the Palestinian Football Association is pushing for international soccer’s governing body, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), to issue a ban on Israel competing internationally, claiming Israel’s restrictive travel for Palestinians is equivalent to a form of oppression. “It’s not only the athletes,” Jibril Rajoub explains. [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    JNS.org – While the national debate on “Obamacare” rages on past the recent March 31 sign-up deadline, bestselling Jewish author Dr. Joel Fuhrman says the “current disease care model of what we call ‘health care’ cannot possibly be sustained.” “There is simply not enough money available to support a system in which the lion’s share of expenditures is devoted to acute care, with virtually nothing being spent on preventive medicine, i.e. health care,” Fuhrman says in an interview. “To make [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    JNS.org – “This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    JNS.org – Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. That included Ament’s own mother. “My mom is probably every Jewish stereotype scrunched into one,” the Washington, DC, resident tells JNS.org. “At the root of all these stereotypical, worrying, overprotective moms, is love.” A social media writer for Capital One, as well as a freelance writer, Ament decided about three years [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.