A game changer for Israelis — how the Iron Dome anti-missile system is saving lives

by | May 2, 2014 | What’s Happening

Sunday, May 18, 7 pm

Israel has four layers of missile-based interception systems, all of which have been used on a regular basis to try to save Israeli lives from terrorist attacks.

Arrow 3 intercepts threats at long ranges in outer space. Arrow 2 intercepts medium and short-range large ballistic missiles. David’s Sling intercepts shortrange ballistic missiles, large artillery rockets, unmanned air vehicles, cruise missiles and regular military aircraft.

The fourth layer, and the one that has proven to be a game changer in terms of saving lives, is the Iron Dome, which intercepts short-range rockets, artillery rockets and other threats, launched in multiple and simultaneous large salvos.

Gideon Weiss, a retired Lt. Col. in the Israel Defense Forces, and an Israeli who has had family and friends die in missile attacks, will share his personal and emotional experiences of what it’s like to live without, and with, the Iron Dome in place, when he speaks at Regent University Theatre as part of the Simon Family JCC’s Celebrate Israel series. Presented in partnership with the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, discussion and kosher dessert reception follows the free presentation.

Weiss is an expert when it comes to the Iron Dome—he works for Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the company that developed and deployed the Iron Dome (and other weapon systems) for the IDF.

Shikma Rubin, chair of the CRC’s Israel committee, spoke with Israelis about the Iron Dome when she helped arrange for Weiss’ visit to Virginia Beach.

“Although the Iron Dome Missile Defense system is not a guarantee for safety, my family and friends feel it allows Israelis to have a sense of stability and security,” Rubin says. “They also have tremendous pride in advanced Israeli technology. With the many threats facing Israel today, the Iron Dome gives the hope for more technology to ease these security challenges.”

Community members who attended the AIPAC Policy Conference earlier this year learned that the Iron Dome’s effectiveness is close to 90%. The system is affordable and can be quickly deployed, and its effectiveness has proven itself in unprecedented ways: civilians can continue functioning during conflicts, damages have been prevented and many lives saved, Israeli leaders have time to think and react without engaging in large scale military operations, meaning not only Israeli lives, but her enemy’s lives have been saved, too. The Iron Dome, experts say, has proven to be a remarkable deterrence.

As effective as the Iron Dome is, however, community leader David Brand says the country, and her allies, must remain vigilant.

“Threats can evolve fast and Israel’s enemies are determined to adapt,” he says. “This requires Israel to stay alert and continue to develop its national-level strategies, as well as its defensive technologies and capabilities. Of course, defeat of Israel’s enemies is not the goal, what we want—what we strive for is maintained peace and security for the only Jewish state in existence.”

Rubin believes Weiss’ presentation is a fitting conclusion to a day that includes an Israel festival at the Simon Family JCC, and is important in gaining a fuller appreciation of Israelis and the Jewish homeland.

“Events such as this, help strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship as we understand the challenges and threats that Israel faces and the importance of American support on the international front,” Rubin says. “Further, these events allow us to learn more about Israeli innovation and culture, and how we and the rest of the world are benefiting from these technological advances.”

The event is free and open to the community, but reservations are required. RSVP at SimonFamilyJCC.org/IronDome or call 321-2337 by May 15. The Regent University Theatre is located at 1000 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach.

by Laine Mednick Rutherford