Iron Dome Battery Tested in Modi'in Area, Between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

Gaza militants fired two rockets at the Jerusalem area during Operation Pillar of Defense in November; IDF expects Hamas to target Jerusalem more often after being 'equipped with more precise rockets thanks to Iran.'

Gili Cohen
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Gili Cohen

The Modi'in area, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, is the site of one of the latest Iron Dome anti-missile defense systems to be deployed in the country. The battery was tested in the area for the past few days, and was removed on Wednesday morning. 

A battery in the area would in part to protect the Jerusalem area from a possible rocket attack. Although many had seen Jerusalem as unlikely to be targeted by rocket fire because of the risk of hitting Muslim holy sites or the large Arab population there, Palestinian militants in Gaza fired two rockets at the Jerusalem area during Operation Pillar of Defense in November.

"Jerusalem is on the threat map, and the more precise the weapons are, the more they allow for more and more rockets to be launched at Jerusalem," said an Israel Defense Forces officer. "Our enemies are equipped with more precise rockets thanks to Iran, and that allows them first of all to launch many more rockets, especially at the beginning of a conflict, and second of all to try to hit strategic sites."

The IDF says the improved capabilities of the rockets held by militants in Gaza and Lebanon means they can be expected to aim for more strategic targets such as Israel Air Force bases and national infrastructure facilities.

Brig. Gen. Shachar Shochat, who heads the IAF's Air Defense Command, said the Iron Dome deployment in Modi'in is one of two methods of active defense the air force has been training to use to defend Jerusalem. The other method is the deployment of a U.S.-made Patriot battery in the Jerusalem area during the joint Israel-U.S. military exercise that took place in October.

"Over the past six months, we have conducted Patriot, David's Sling [also called Magic Wand], Iron Dome, Block 2 and Arrow 3 exercises," Shochat said at an international conference on the ballistic threat Tuesday.

The IDF declared the Modi'in area where the Iron Dome battery is located to be a closed military zone, and residents were being asked to keep out.

Also in the past few days, Iron Dome systems have been deployed at various sites in the greater Tel Aviv area. The anti-missile system intercepted several rockets aimed at Tel Aviv during the November rocket fire from Gaza.

Soldiers arming an Iron Dome battery.Credit: Hadar Cohen

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