Israel’s Iron Dome Proves a Missile Defense System Can Work

Aaron Richards /

Doubters falsely accuse the Israeli defense system as a failure when in reality that is not the case. As the threat of ballistic missile increases, the U.S. should enact policies to further advance its own defenses.

The founder of Israel’s Missile Defense Organization, Uzi Rubin, recently wrote an article discussing the positive implications of the Iron Dome rocket and air defense system.

The installment of the Iron Dome in April of 2011 has prevented the deaths of many Israelis from incoming rocket fire from terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. The effectiveness of the Iron Dome system was seen this past November when Hamas launched hundreds of rockets at Israel.


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The Iron Dome successfully intercepted 302 of 840 rockets that were fired during the four days, and those that were not intercepted were outside populated areas. As Heritage’s James Phillips discusses, this competent defense strategy proves critiques of the Iron Dome are flawed and that a missile defense system is anything but feckless. Because of its proficiency, America needs to continue to play a role in the development of the Iron Dome.

The U.S. currently plays a key role in funding the research and development of the Iron Dome. The House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allocates $680 million to fund the Iron Dome from fiscal year (FY) 2012 through FY 2015. These funds will provide additional protection for the Israeli people now and in the future.

Heritage’s Baker Spring discusses the implications of the success of Israel’s air and rocket defense system, along with reasons as to why the U.S. cannot hesitate to provide funds to advance the Iron Dome. The U.S. can learn from Israel and the benefits from the Iron Dome by expanding its understanding of the cost-effectiveness of implementing a similar missile defense system.

The dubious evidence from critics—like the type that Rubin points out—such as blurry videos from cameras and smartphones being used to project the number of interceptions, underestimate the success rate of the Iron Dome. In reality, the Iron Dome intercepted over 80 percent of Hamas’s rockets, proving the system’s value and that missile defense is capable of protecting a country from external threats.

The Iron Dome has demonstrated that a well-funded missile defense system can be an effective defense strategy. While Iran is building a nuclear weapon, now is the time to do what is necessary to maintain the protection of Israel. President Obama should take action to thwart any future efforts from countries like North Korea and advance a U.S. missile defense system.

Aaron Richards is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please click here.