A unit of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system will take up position in the Negev this morning for what is being called an “operational trial” outside the laboratory, facing actual threats. The system, however, will still not be at full capacity. Full capacity is needed to declare it operational. The early deployment is meant to quell growing criticism in communities in the south; also, the rocket volleys as far north as Ashdod and Gan Yavneh last week blurred the line between the south and the center of the country.
Iron Dome’s deployment can have two immediate results, each of them negative in one sense or another. The first would stem from the system’s failure.
Success will prove the wisdom of adding – even if belatedly – two lower layers of protection, Iron Dome and just above it Magic Wand, to the upper layers of protection from the Arrow 3 and Patriot systems. But such success would just whet appetites. Unprotected communities would envy protected ones, and the people launching the rockets would probably choose new targets – exposed communities. Or they would use direct short-range weaponry (mortars and anti-tank weapons ) on kibbutzim and moshavim on the border.