BLOG 407 October 22, 2018 ~ WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST ~ 

Each week Robert L. Wise, PhD, explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

Anyone who follows the Middle East situation has heard of the Iron Dome. The system has proven to be an extraordinary defense against rocket attacks because it shoots down rockets while they are flying through the air. Here’s some additional information I think you’ll find interesting.

In 2006, Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon started firing rockets into North Israel. In five weeks they fired 4,000 rockets. About a fourth of these landed in highly populated areas. They would obviously get better with time and something had to be done.

Chanoch and Ditz Levin had just moved from the USA to Israel. Levin had been employed working with explosive devices and knew how to approach the problem. However, he had to first convince the Israeli government that he could handle the job. Moreover, he was given a limited amount of time and money to work on the project. The project had to cost less than $100, 000 and be ready in 30 months.

American defense contractors offered various products that might do the job, but they were turned down. Levin’s idea was to build interceptor missiles that could track and destroy incoming rockets. Interception was particularly tricky has it had to occur in microseconds when the enemy rocket was coming head-to-head. A team was assembled including 25-year old Tzipi. Her engineer’s job was to crawl into the launching tubes for electronic hook-up purposes. The workers had to make sure she was out of the shoots before they left at night.

On April 7, 2011 at the first trial of Levin’s invention, the rockets didn’t fire. A careful analysis revealed two wires had been wrongly placed. Once corrected, the Iron Dome device fired. They were on their way! On August 20, 2011, Hamas fired 11 missiles simultaneously at the city of Beersheba. The Iron Dome intercepted most of them. Since then the rate of success has only increased.  What Chanoch and Levin invented has spawned other highly similar devices that intercept rockets.

While not technologically perfect, the Iron Dome system has taken away from Hamas and Hezbollah one of their key weapons and their ability to create bloodshed. The Israeli army can relax when the enemy starts firing rockets and the Air Force doesn’t have to attack the terrorist’s launchers. When Iran’s Revolutionary Guard fired rockets from Syria, the system shot them down.

Israel has achieved an international reputation for creating electronic devices. For example, the USB “flash drive” now used everywhere in computers was invented in Israel. However, the Iron Dome stands at the top of the list for stopping destruction and saving lives.

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