Thursday, July 17, 2014

Iron Dome

Tomorrow I'm off to Tel Aviv for a long birthday weekend.  I'm sure that my mom is not thrilled about me going there right now.  The thing is...there is almost always something going on in Israel.  If I waited for a perfect time then I would probably never get the opportunity to visit.  However, in my defense, I booked this trip before this most recent round of fighting started up.

Back in June, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered, in the West Bank.  Israel blames Hamas.  A couple of weeks ago, seven Hamas militants were killed in a tunnel explosion.  Both sides blame the other.  One thing that can't be denied is that missiles have been fired on Israel from the Gaza Strip.  In June, 66 rockets were fired in 30 attacks on Israel.  In the first week of July, about 250 missiles have been shot at Israel.  It's amazing to me that with all of this going on, less than a dozen Israelis have been injured.  Thanks to the Iron Dome.

The Iron Dome is Israel's mobile air defense system that is designed to intercept and destroy rockets and artillery shells from 4 km to 70 km (2.5 to 43 miles) away.  The Iron Dome systems tracks rockets launched at Israel.  When the system determines the rocket it is headed for a civilian area then it launches two intercepting missiles to neutralize the threat.  The system has proven to be very effective.  And expensive.  Each Iron Dome missile costs $50,000 and with two missiles fired for every Hamas rocket that's $100,000 a pop.  Expensive but, of course, far better than the alternative.

Yes, there is always a risk.  But Tel Aviv is far enough north that I hope there won't be too much missile activity.  Hamas rockets can't be weighted down with too much explosives in order for them to reach Tel Aviv.  Knock on wood.   

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