Tag Archives: iron dome

THE AMAZING IRON DOME

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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PROBING THE CURRENT ISRAELI – PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

2014 is starting to feel like 1914. (the start of World War I). The smell of smoke is in the air wherever we look from the China Sea to the Ukraine to the Middle East, war or the threat of war, rings through the air.

As the radical militants and jihadist continue to strike, there are important undercurrents in the background that are often not noticed. Such is the case in the on-going war in Gaza. The hidden message in the recent reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas is a case in point and one of the reasons for the continued strikes by Israel. Of course, the fact that Hama fired thousands of rockets on Israel set the stage for the conflict. The refusal to stop and join a cease fire has perpetuated the conflict. The creation of tunnels into Israel to allow terrorist to attack also threw gasoline on the fire.

Hamas’s persistence in firing rockets when the Iron Dome System knocks every one out that comes close to a population center is a tell-tale sign of how Hamas thinks. They believe in bullets and the sacrifice of human life –even when it is their own.

Have you noticed that there have been virtually no Arab responses supporting Hamas from the surrounding countries? The Egyptian government even blamed Hamas and not Israel for dozens of Palestinian deaths. Egypt has kept their border closed, keeping Gaza residents from fleeing to Egypt. As the carnage became worse, a few governments sent out mixed signals that were feeble compared to their screams in other conflicts with Israel.

Within the folds of this silence is a realization of what the reconciliation talks between the PA and Hamas would end up meaning. Hamas has changed its strategy and was using the Hezbollah model from Lebanon. It’s a “bullets plus ballots” approach putting a high emphasis on killing. In Gaza, they maintain 20,000 well-trained military units and security personnel.  Since the June 2007 military takeover of Gaza, Hamas has put 50,000 employees on the public payroll. Hamas has made some shifts to cooperation with the PA, but are actually challenging Fatah in their own backyard. Gaza workshops in turn stepped up production of M-57 missiles.

In other words, Hamas has put more fire-power in the PA and created a greater striking force against Israel. By setting up rockets in residential areas, they seek a propaganda advantage of accusing Israel of attacking women and children. The Israelis aren’t buying it and are destroying all possible sites. Israel will either stop them now or pay the price later.

These adjustments have been spurred by set-backs that directly or in-directly affected Gaza. The loss of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt as well as the cessation of smuggling arms through the Sinai Peninsula hurt Hamas. The decline of financial subsidies from Iran and Qatar blew another log on the fire. Equally bad was the growing resentment of Gaza citizens because of unemployment, hardships, and constant repression. The huge losses in the current warfare won’t help their standing. Moreover, as Israel pounds Gaza militants into the sand, the Israelis are destroying the “bullets and ballots” strategy. Moreover, they are wiping out thousands of rockets and attack tunnels.

The war goes on. Hamas would be smarter to stop firing useless rockets and find a new approach. Anyone for reconciliation? Sorry. The answer is no.

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RENEWED FIGHTING IN ISRAEL

Israeli envoy to the United Nations Abba Ebon once said, “the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” His haunting pronouncement has become prophetic. The lost possibilities keep mounting up.

During peace negotiations with Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) went out the back door and signed a peace agreement with Hamas which sunk the ship because the PA knew Israeli’s policy is never to negotiate with terrorists.  In turn, Hamas killed three Israeli teenagers and retaliation followed. Now the PA and the Gaza Strip are getting blasted. From opportunity to onslaught in a matter of days.

Personal perspectives on Israel and the Palestinians will shape how people interrupt the current conflict. Currently, Europe is experiencing a resurgence of antisemitism that colors reporting. Having returned from Israel several months ago, I have my own perspective shaped by over 35 trips to the country. I do know that the conflicts remain a powder keg just waiting to blow. This past week put the match to the fuse.

The great tragedy of war is that women and children as well as innocent bystanders get hit in the crossfire. We will hear many of these stories. They are beyond terrible and should never have happened. Neither should the three Israeli teen boys have been murdered that kicked off this conflict. Revenge and retaliation only produce more hate.

Following the killings, Israel launched its largest offensive in the Gaza Strip in nearly two years. Hamas has never stopped firing rockets into Israel and this current assault has the intention of ending weeks of heavy rocket fire. Militants fired around 160 rockets including one strike that came near the northern Israeli city of Hadera. At the same time, Israel hit 150 sites in Gaza. Of course, Hamas rockets had a minimal impact in Israel because of the Iron Dome rocket repelling system Israel has in place. Israeli rockets knocked out Hamas missiles while they were still in the air, damaging nothing.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the military to “take the gloves off” in responding to Hamas. Undoubtedly, the Israeli military will not let up until Hamas’s attacks are humbled. The army has called up 40,000 reservists that are prepared for a ground operation in Gaza if necessary. No efforts are underway for a cease-fire.

The Palestinians have compounded their first mistake with another. The cost will be high. It is almost as if their actions are always self-defeating. Of course, the PA didn’t like the deal on the table in their negotiations. Israel didn’t either. A compromise would greatly have been preferred to a war.

One aspect of the conflict is that Israeli and Palestinians have a different view of the value of life. Palestinians send in women wired with explosives to use as suicide bombers. Their view of human existence is that life is expendable. On the other hand, Israel considers life to be sacred. The L’chayim, to life, is a basic tenant of Israeli faith. The death of one Jew is considered to be the loss of a nation. In this philosophical debate, the Palestinians will loose again.

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