Israel’s radar-guided missile interception system, known as the Iron Dome, has shot down 421 of the approximate 1,500 rockets Hamas rockets that were fired at Israeli civilians in the past week. The cost of its operation in this time is estimated between $25 and 30 million.
The US-backed Iron Dome was not initiated at all rockets that were fired from Gaza–only the ones which were deemed to have a chance to hit their intended targets. The missile defense system showed a success rate of approximately 90%.
The Iron Dome system is operated by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Ltd, which is a state-owned operation. On one day of the conflict, the system actually broke down and was inoperable. Though the Israelis operate the company as a state-owned enterprise, much of the base technology originated in the private sector.
In total, Hamas’s rockets killed five people and wounded dozens since the November 14, 2012 “beginning” of this renewed manifestation of the age-old conflict. Three of these casualties occurred on the one day the Iron Dome system malfunctioned.
Israeli officials have described the Iron Dome system as “well worth the money.” Israeli Civil Defense Minister Avi Dichter said, “If the Iron Dome was traded on the Tel Aviv or Nasdaq stock exchange, the value per share would multiply several times.”
Without the Iron Dome system, the Hamas/Iranian rockets intended for the heavily-populated Tel Aviv area could have inflicted heavy casualties. The likely Israeli response would have been devastating not only to Hamas but the Gaza population as a whole, as Hamas uses women and children as shields for their terrorism.
It is important to note that the Israeli Iron Dome system is not yet complete, with Israeli military leaders saying more batteries are needed.