Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited the site of an Iron Dome missile defense system battery in southern Israel Thursday, reiterating his earlier statements that although the defense system is an impressive feat, it is yet to be 100 percent effective.
Barak called Iron Dome an "exceptional Israeli technological achievement", adding that the battery was beginning it run as part of an operational experiment that will last for the next several weeks.
The defense minister projected forward, saying that he is optimistic that in the future a superior missile defense system will be put in place, including Magic Wand, the interception system for medium-range missiles and rockets, as well as the Arrow and Arrow II, which are interceptor missiles.
Barak claimed that once all defense systems are in place, "over the course of the coming decade, we will reach a point of massive defense of the state."
The defense minister warned that "this is not a 100 percent solution, and we will not be able to deploy it [Iron Dome] in all the necessary locations by tomorrow." He continued, saying "it will take several years and significant expense to prepare ourselves, but it is our intent to do everything necessary to become operational."
Barak concluded by stressing the importance of adapting to modern modes of warfare, saying today's reality is vastly different from that of wars past. He pointed to the crucial role Iron Dome serves in Israel's defense against untraditional attacks, saying that Iron Dome and the systems to be implemented in the future "will have a very important role in the protection of Israel's citizens".
Barak announced Friday that Israel would be deploying its newly developed Iron Dome missile defense system for the first time to protect southern Israeli communities from Palestinian attacks from Gaza.
He gave the order after a week in which Gaza militants fired dozens of mortar shells and rockets at Israel, which retaliated with air strikes.
In a meeting with the IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and other defense officials Friday, he praised the military's reaction to heightened rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, saying "in the last ten days, the terror organizations in Gaza have been hit hard and lost 11 militants."
He lamented the loss of civilian life in the strikes, but said that "it is not Israel's intent to allow terror organizations to renew their efforts to break our routine," saying that Israel will do whatever necessary to restore order.
Barak warned Hamas and other terror organizations of the consequences of further firing into Israel, saying that Israel is continuing to follow the situation closely.
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