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Monday, July 14, 2014

Expert: Iron Dome is a bluff

Israeli Defense Prize winner Moti Shefer claims that Iron Dome is a bluff (Hat Tip: Asher G).
He said, "There is no missile in the world today able to intercept missiles or rockets. Iron Dome is a sound and light show that is intercepting only Israeli public opinion, and itself, of course. Actually, all the explosions you see in the sky are self explosions. No Iron Dome missile has ever collided with a single rocket. Open spaces are a myth invented in order to up Iron Dome's current interception percentages. The rockets announced as intercepted by Iron Dome either never reach the ground, or are virtual rockets invented and destroyed on the Iron Dom control computer. To this day, no one has ever seen an intercepted rocket fall to the ground."
He continued, "What lands here is what's launched. The parts we see on the ground are from Iron Dome itself. We're shooting at ourselves, mainly virtually. The virtual rocket was invented in order to increase the vagueness surrounding Iron Dome. Assume that a real rocket arrives. What does the command and control system do? It creates nine more virtual rockets, and transmits their paths on computer graphics to the rocket launcher operators. The launcher operators see 10 rockets and launch 10 Iron Dome interceptors. People hear 10 booms, one rocket enters, and you get a 90% success rate."
I agree that it's probably not fair not to count each missile that falls in 'open space.' We were told when Iron Dome was introduced that it would not shoot at missiles that are headed for 'open space' because of the disparity between the cost of each 'Palestinian'  rocket (about $150 - although the longer-range rockets probably cost more) and the cost of each Iron Dome missile (now about $40-50,000). But we regularly see damage caused by rockets that fall in 'open spaces.' So yes, to really be 100% protection, Iron Dome would have to sport a 100% success rate, including rockets heading for 'open spaces.' Until that happens, the rocket fire has the consequence of interfering with daily life here (you have to turn on the radio for a few minutes and hear one rocket warning after the other around the country to understand from Jerusalem - which has bli ayin hara been relatively quiet - just how many rockets are being fired).

On the other hand, I don't buy the reason behind Shefer's conspiracy.
According to Dr. Shefer, Iron Dome is a part of a broad conspiracy, in which two interested parties afraid of peace are participating: the defense industries and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Iron Dome does exactly the opposite. It's those who can't give up the dream of the 'two-state solution' who are promoting Iron Dome. They're promoting the fantasy that we can separate from the 'Palestinians,' close ourselves in a disconnected cocoon and Iron Dome will ensure that no bad things get through.

Even within the defense establishment, Shefer has a checkered record.
Brigadier General (res.) Daniel Gold, who initiated Iron Dome, responded scornfully: "I won't make personal remarks here. Let him believe what he wants to believe. Anyone can see what the truth is here. All the interceptions to date are recorded and documented. We're the startup nation because of things like this, and this is much bigger than a startup. They put 300-400 of the most talented people here, who worked like crazy, with determination. It works."
Dr. Shefer's ideas for developing interception systems were universally rejected before Iron Dome was developed.
Iron Dome does work. But it doesn't work with 100% effectiveness and it doesn't change the fact that the rocket fire continues to interfere with daily life here.

Iron Dome has other issues as well.

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