What if Iron Dome Is a Bluff?

That's what two prominent missile experts assert. Could the Israel Defense Forces and the government be lying to us?

Rogel Alpher
Rogel Alpher
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An Iron Dome air defense system fires to intercept a rocket from Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, July 5, 2014.
An Iron Dome air defense system fires to intercept a rocket from Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, July 5, 2014.Credit: AP
Rogel Alpher
Rogel Alpher

Iron Dome is Israeli society’s deus ex machina coming from nowhere to solve the problems that left us helpless. We worship it. Unquestioningly. We were told up front that it can guarantee interception of only 90 percent of the rockets launched at us, so even a little damage and a few casualties and fatalities won’t cause us to doubt its efficacy.

However, Israel Defense Prize laureate and aerospace engineer Dr. Moti Shefer, whose specialty is interception missiles, says Iron Dome is a bluff. It doesn’t intercept anything but rather invents virtual rockets. The explosions we hear are the sounds of Iron Dome missiles self-destructing. As of the writing of these lines, Hamas rockets have done very little damage to people and property. We see this as proof of Iron Dome’s efficacy and reliability; Shefer says the number of rockets coming in from the Gaza Strip is immeasurably smaller than what Iron Dome reports and in any case they are tinpot weapons, so 95 percent of the time we are safe anyway, irrespective of Iron Dome (and the endless “open spaces” with which we have suddenly been blessed, like some new sort of manna rained down upon us by a benevolent deity).

In an article in Haaretz in March, 2013, the late military commentator Reuven Pedatzur cited anti-missile defense specialist MIT Prof. Theodore Postol, who after analyzing dozens of videos filmed during Operation Pillar of Defense concluded that the percentage of successful interceptions by Iron Dome was only about 5 percent.

Shefer and Postol make the most subversive claim imaginable. If they are right, what we have here is the mother of all conspiracies: The national leadership is manufacturing an imaginary reality and convincing citizens of its truth, out of tyrannical and economic motives. If so, North Korea is here.

Nevertheless, no one is savaging Dr. Shefer. Savaging is reserved for extreme leftists, people who say that Israel’s pilots are war criminals, Ismail Haniyeh is Winston Churchill and Hamas is the victim. For Gideon Levy and Uri Avneri. They are taken seriously. They are accused of incitement, of collaborating with the enemy. Others take the trouble to answer them.

Whereas Shefer is totally dismissed. He is an anecdote. He is off his rocker, a sad sack, the village idiot, a joke.

Is such a deception possible? Could the Israel Defense Forces and the government be lying to us, without batting an eye? Of course not. They love us. They are watching over us. Right?

I haven’t the slightest idea or the tools to determine the truth about this claim. It is amazing that none of the media are investigating this assertion. No one wants to know.

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