60 Minutes: Iron Dome
The Iron Dome, as Bob Simon reported, is a tool of war that could even find favor among pacifists, because it saves lives instead of taking them. Israel’s multimillion-dollar defense system (subsidized with US tax dollars), was the subject of a 60 Minutes report.
60 Minutes: Israel Vs Hamas
Over 15,000 rockets and mortars have been shot into Israel, from Lebanon by Hezbollah and from Gaza by Hamas. Running used to be citizens’ only defense when they found themselves under attack.
But the Iron Dome fires missiles of its own to intercept attacks in the sky. In a video, you could see the defense missile correcting course midflight to meet its target and defuse the missile, keeping citizens out of harm’s way.
60 Minutes: Iron Dome Missiles
A nighttime video taken at a wedding ceremony caught several of these Iron Dome missiles at work overhead as the reception continued down on the ground. Does this mean residents of Israel are feeling safer than before?
Ehud Barak, the defense minister of Israel, said that it has changed the lives of citizens and reduced anxiety about surprise attacks. “Most probably, the incoming rocket will be intercepted,” Barak said.
60 Minutes: Iron Dome Defense Missile Success Rate
A November 2012 attack involving more than 1,500 rockets at Israel, and the Iron Dome is estimated to have defeated 85% of the incoming attacks, despite the fact that they travel at a speed of hundreds of miles per hour.
“It’s like a bullet shooting down another bullet,” Simon reported, recalling that strategists were initially skeptical of the concept when it was just an idea on the drawing board. The Israeli Air Force even opposed it initially.
60 Minutes: How Iron Dome Works
There are five batteries that launch the missiles, each with their own radar and control center. The millions of dollars in equipment are monitored by young soldiers and one is located in a potato field.
Iron Dome can instantaneously calculate the probable landing spot of an incoming missile. For those heading to deserted areas, Iron Dome lets the incoming missile land. But if it appears to be targeting a populated area, it can spring into action within seconds. The decisionmaking process takes place in a matter of seconds, and each interception must be fired by a soldier at one of those battery stations.
60 Minutes: Gaza Rocket Speed
Gaza rocket fire could land in as little as 10 to 15 seconds, but residents there say the Iron Dome has been successful so far. Rafael, the primary manufacturer of the missile defense system, believes that the system is changing lives throughout Israel, even though the country was used to living in uncertainty and fear of war.
Iron Dome could be what prevented a recent war with Gaza over constant attacks. The Iron Dome has yet to face serious testing against larger rockets launched from the north by Hamas. The cost disparity is a large one: an estimated $75,000 for an interceptor missile, whereas Hamas rockets could cost as little as $500.
60 Minutes: Iron Dome Cost
Israeli defense minister Barak addressed the cost concerns by saying that it is not the most important metric. What is the value of living normal, everyday life and keeping the country’s economy stable? That was where Barak suggested focusing a cost analysis.
Could this lead the path to peace with Palestinians? According to Husam Zomlot, a PLO diplomat, the Iron Dome will not necessarily affect the country’s desire to make concessions toward a peace agreement.
60 Minutes: Israeli Peace Talks
Protests in the streets seem to be par for the course in Palestine, though Israel praises its neighbor’s peaceful coexistence of late. However, that detente has not so far led to renewed peace talks.
Zomlot said that Israel will be reluctant to make any overtures now that they can live with less fear. He suggested that the US pressure Israel to take its advice, since it has taken $270 million of the country’s money for this system.
60 Minutes: US Aid To Israel
Palestinians believed that Israel is ignoring the expertise and counsel of Americans, while taking millions in aid from the country, some of which is being spent on settlements that the US has advised against.
According to Barak, the relationship between the US and Israel is “extremely close” in many ways. He was reluctant to wade too far into the waters of international diplomacy, suggesting that one had nothing to do with the other. Despite (or, depending on who you ask, because of) the advancements of the Iron Dome, peace in the Middle East does not seem to be on the horizon anytime soon.