Friday August 28, 2015
Israel Hayom
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Iron Dome deployed to protect Tel Aviv makes smashing debut
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Aharon Lapidot

Nasrallah's anxiety

There is one man sitting this very moment in a well-protected bunker — and he is having an anxiety attack.

Every additional interception by Iron Dome takes a few more seconds off his life. No, he's not hiding in Gaza from Israeli airstrikes; he is in relatively calm Beirut. His name is Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, and he has been watching with alarm as the Iron Dome system has managed to pull the rug out from under the strategic threat he has orchestrated against Israel for many years.

On Saturday the Iron Dome system continued to surprise. Just two hours after the fifth and most advanced battery was operationally deployed in the central Dan region, it intercepted its first rocket over Tel Aviv.

According to the incoming rocket's trajectory, calculated by the system, it was supposed to land in a densely populated area.

This specific interception is all the more incredible when taking into account that the battery had just barely become operational and was upgraded to fill the gap left open by Magic Wand — the system still under development to defend against longer range rockets and missiles — and was successful outside its originally intended target range.

Operationally, this is a fantastic achievement for a system that has already proven itself above and beyond expectations.

Throughout Operation Pillar of Defense, Iron Dome has intercepted nearly 90 percent of its targets: Out of 110 rocket attacks on Saturday, only three managed to penetrate Israeli defenses and hit populated areas.

For our neighbors this is very sobering news. Missiles are their preferred "judgment day" weapon and are the main tool, from Iran to Lebanon, with which they hope to maintain a balance of terror against Israel. In terms of air power, these countries are at a significant disadvantage to the Israel Defense Forces. Without an umbrella of air defense, Hamas' infantry and armored units on the ground are exposed and vulnerable to airstrikes. The Israel Navy is armed with highly capable, modern systems.

All that remains are missiles and rockets. Indeed, this is Israel's third missile war in the past 21 years. In the first Gulf War, in 1991, we dealt with the attacks without appropriate defensive capabilities, but the Iraqi Scuds caused almost zero casualties. The seed was planted due to the Gulf War, which eventually led to the Arrow system.

In the Second Lebanon War, Nasrallah bombarded us with his arsenal of Russian, Chinese and North Korean missiles. They caused damage but were far from bringing Israel to its knees.

And today a mere 30 rockets out of nearly 1,000 which have been launched at us have hit populated areas. Only one has been deadly. Is it a surprise that Nasrallah is on edge?

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