BY LAUREN STONE, JEWISH POLICY CENTER—
Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, the first system in the world to deflect incoming rockets and missiles mid-air, is a one-of-a-kind defensive tool that has the potential to make Israel millions as well as protect its people. According to Israel Defense magazine, three countries, the U.S. and two unnamed countries in Asia, are interested in employing the new technology that costs $15 million for the system alone and about $40,000 per missile.
The Iron Dome is truly a remarkable invention. Its success is due to its radar system that has the capability to distinguish between missiles that will land in a populated area and ones that will hit open ground. The Iron Dome then only fires interceptors at those rockets aimed at civilian areas. The new technology first saw success two months ago after it shot down eight Grad rockets launched from the Gaza Strip.
Although the system is expensive, it is the first tool in Israel’s arsenal capable of neutralizing the rocket threat from Gaza without Israel physically launching an attack against the small strip of land, as it did in 2008-2009’s Operation Cast Lead. Of course, Hamas has a tendency to adapt to Israeli security measures: When Israel began constructing its wall that made it near-impossible for Hamas to carry out suicide bombings inside Israel, the terror organization turned to rockets. And yet, with its ability to shoot-down incoming missiles, the Iron Dome system may just turn out to be a game-changer.
Last year, the United States approved $205 million of funding for Israel to use on the missile defense system and this May, the Pentagon announced its plans to purchase four Iron Dome missile defense systems for Israel’s use with a total price tag of $200 million. While the funding cost is high, there’s no doubt Washington will benefit from its investment, as well as its continued strategic relationship with the Middle East’s only democracy.