Opinion: Despite its undeniably steep cost, the missile defense system has proven again and again that it is a life-saving guardian of the south, even as Israel’s leaders have failed in their duty to protect those living in shadow of Gaza rockets
In 2011, Israel’s brand new Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted its very first rocket fired from Gaza, high above the country’s battered south.
The all too familiar screeching whistle of the rocket siren was heard in Ashkelon, Ashdod and Sderot.
But this time, instead of people fleeing to their reinforced rooms in a panicked wave, everyone excitedly stepped onto their balconies to watch the light show that was the Iron Dome in action.
People clapped and cheered at the sight of the system’s first successful interception. Pride swelled in the chests of Israelis who knew that reality in the country would forever be changed.
Despite the south’s newly found euphoria, many around Israel believed that this multi-million dollar system – whose missiles are priced at tens of thousands of shekels apiece – was nothing less then an overkill response to the ramshackle rockets cobbled together in Gaza’s dilapidated scrapyards.
That notion was a mistake. Iron Dome is one of the best things to happen to the communities adjacent the Gaza Strip in particular and the south as a whole. The fighters operating the system are seen as nothing less than family in every household in southern Israel.