On April 2, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) received its first operational Magic Wand mid-range anti-missile system (also known as David’s Sling). In the future, this advanced weapons system will also be able to handle cruise missiles. The incorporation of Magic Wand into Israel’s missile defenses complements Israel’s other anti-missile systems such as the Arrow and Iron Dome. It provides Israel with a perfect, multilayered response to almost all of the ballistic threats posed by the rockets and missiles in its enemies’ The David’s Sling missile defense system can be seen during a ceremony in which Israel declared the defense shield fully operational, at Hatzor air base, Israel, April 2, 2017. (photo by REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
arsenals. Iron Dome can intercept short-range Qassam and Grad rockets fired at it by Hamas from the Gaza Strip, as well as short-range rockets that Hezbollah might fire. The Arrow anti-missile system (Arrow 1, Arrow 2 and the new Arrow 3 archetype) is designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles such as Iranian Shahab missiles, which follow a suborbital trajectory outside the atmosphere. Shahab missiles are designed to carry particularly heavy payloads, including nuclear warheads. Magic Wand is the final piece of the puzzle. It is designed to intercept mid-range missiles such as Scuds.
Summary⎙ Print Israel’s now-operational David Sling’s medium-range missile defense system, along with the rest of its arsenal, should assist the country in protecting itself against any coordinated attack by Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Iran.
Israel may be the first country in the world with such a multilayered defense system, yet it has already proven its mettle in several operational trials. In 2014, Iron Dome had an impressive record intercepting Hamas rockets fired during Operation Protective Edge, almost completely eliminating the strategic missile threat posed by Hamas to the Israeli Home Front.
A few weeks ago, on March 17, Israel’s Arrow missile also received an unanticipated public unveiling when it successfully downed a failed Syrian surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile (SAM) fired at Israeli air force jets during a sortie in northern Syria. Syria’s antiquated, heavy missile missed the aircraft, reached high altitude and then began falling back to earth. Once the Arrow’s sophisticated radar system recognized that it would fall in Israeli territory, posing a significant threat, it immediately initiated the automatic firing of an Arrow missile at the SAM, which it intercepted successfully. Nevertheless, no one in Israel was particularly happy about this, since it forced the country to admit that it had launched an attack on Syria. While Russia issued a formal reprimand, the Israeli leadership, particularly its defense establishment, reconsidered its initial reservation. As it turned out, they were pleased by this tangible evidence that the Israeli Home Front now benefits from a level of defense unprecedented anywhere else in the world.
Despite these achievements, Israel is still far from being fully impervious to the ballistic threat posed by its enemies. It is estimated that Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Syria now have about a quarter of a million rockets and missiles between them. In the most extreme scenario, with Iran joining the melee, the number of missiles increases considerably.
The most ominous threat now facing Israel is the possibility of a surprise rocket and missile attack in which all of its enemies — Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Syria and Iran — fire tens of thousands of rockets and missiles at Israel in a single day, in a coordinated attack. Israel compares such a scenario to the “1973 Yom Kippur surprise,” in which Egypt and Syria attacked Israel simultaneously. As of now, Israel has no response to such an attack.
The assessment is that, in such a scenario, the Israeli air force will successfully destroy thousands of long-range missiles and launchers, mainly those belonging to Hamas and Hezbollah. Similarly, Israel’s missile defense systems will intercept many more missiles. Nevertheless, the Israeli Home Front will still suffer hits from thousands more rockets and missiles, the most accurate of which could reach Israeli air force bases, impeding the air force’s capacity to respond. One senior Israeli military official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that “the only response to such a threat is deterrence. Our enemies know exactly what price they will pay for initiating such a move, and it will be much higher — incomparably higher — than the price paid by Israel.”
But Israel’s defensive systems must also deal with another challenge, i.e., extremely short-range rockets whose range is measured in hundreds of meters to just a few kilometers from the border. While these kinds of rockets are for the most part very primitive and basic, the fact that they are in the air for no more than a few seconds makes it difficult to some extent for existing anti-missile systems to identify, pinpoint and hone in on them, and to intercept them on time. With this kind of threat, the impact of the more ancient rockets is actually the most dangerous one. During Operation Protective Edge, the IDF paid an especially high price in the number of soldiers killed by mortars at meeting points along the border.
Hezbollah has begun developing enormous mortars with explosive warheads that are much heavier than those of regular mortar shells. Their short, steep trajectory could make it especially difficult for Israel to shoot them down. In other words, they could threaten IDF soldiers taking up position along the northern border, as well as adjacent Israeli localities. It is estimated that integrating laser-guided interceptors as an additional part of the solution to the threat will provide an adequate response to this problem.
In this clash of minds and developments, Israel leads the rest of the world by several orders of magnitude. On the other hand, this has resulted in an internal debate among defense experts within the country. Israel’s approach to defense has always been based on three pillars: deterrence, warning and guaranteeing a decisive outcome. The fact that Israel’s enemies are aware of its enormous power deters them from engaging in confrontations. Israel’s intelligence agencies provide warning of its enemies’ hostile intentions well in advance, and the IDF has the ability to shift the conflict to enemy territory and conclude it decisively.
The modern era has reduced the possibility of a decisive outcome in battle considerably. Traditional gauges of victory are irrelevant when a sovereign state is locked in combat against guerrilla groups. In the past decade, Israel introduced a fourth component — defense — to its overall approach to security. It is an element that has not figured as prominently before now. A tangible example of this new component is the multilayered missile defense system, but this leaves many in the defense establishment feeling uneasy. They worry that the systems’ defensive capacities could cause the critical operational branches of its military to atrophy. As one senior defense official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “When the political leadership is unruffled by the 50 days of Operation Protective Edge and the Home Front doesn’t suffer any significant casualties, the need for a decisive outcome is not as urgent as it once was. The country’s leadership could then evade the need for ground maneuvers or achieving any decisive outcome whatsoever.”
Regardless of how they feel about it, however, no one (in Israel) today would agree to forego Magic Wand, Iron Dome or the Arrow missile defense system willingly, at least not until all the rockets and missiles surrounding Israel rust. That is precisely what former Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon recommended long ago.
A Sa’ar 4.5-class Corvette of the Israeli Navy fires its canons during a naval exercise off the coast of Israel.
Israel’s Defense Ministry on Sunday announced a series of deals for the purchase of combat systems from local defense industries in the amount of $420 million by the end of this year. This is part of a project to acquire warships whose mission would to protect natural gas platforms within Israel’s “economic waters” in the Mediterranean against military threats.
An Israeli soldier training in Krav Maga.
Several dozen members of the Indian military are currently learning how to protect themselves using the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga, India Today reported this weekend.
“I brought Krav Maga to India in year 2002 after intensive training in Israel,” Vikram Kapoor — the head instructor at the International Krav Maga Federation — was quoted as saying. “This is the only self-defense technique that is being evolved every moment and that is why it is the best.”
Culminating a three-year process, delegates at the Mennonite Church USA assembly in Orlando on Thursday adopted a resolution titled “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine,” with approximately 98 percent voting in favor. The resolution calls on members to “avoid purchase of products associated with the occupation or produced in settlements in occupied territories.” It also establishes a process for the church to review its investments “for the purpose of withdrawing investments from companies that are profiting from the occupation.”
Rabbi Steven Wernick says Netanyahu recruited progressive Jews to find a compromise for the holy site; now that the PM has reneged, world Jewry won’t be silent
The fight for pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall is a battle already won by Jewry’s Conservative movement. For some 20 years, Conservative Jews have inhabited a spiritual home at Jerusalem’s contentious holy site, which they won through a series of Supreme Court cases — in a section allocated to the Davidson Archaeological
Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. (Photo credit: hebron.com)
In a secret ballot held at the World Heritage Committee’s 41st annual summit in Krakow Poland, on Friday, UNESCO voted twelve to three in favor declaring the Holy City of Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs “Palestinian world heritage sites”.
The resolution described a Muslim history of the city while blatantly ignoring the Biblical narrative describing 3,000 years of Jewish connection to the site. Six countries abstained from the controversial vote which, at the request of Poland, Croatia, and Jamaica, was a secret ballot; a first for such a vote.
During last month’s 2017 Chicago Dyke March, the true face of “inclusion” among “progressives” finally surfaced. According to the Chicago based newspaper Windy City Times, the march proceeded calmly with people “of all races, genders and gender identities” attending, until “the Dyke March Collective ejected three people carrying Jewish Pride flags (a rainbow flag with a Star of David in the center).”
Something is terribly broken in the relationship between American and Israeli Jews. I say this as an American Jew who has lived in Israel for almost half a century. But if anyone thinks this started with Women of the Wall or PM Netanyahu’s recent – and I believe unfortunate – backtracking on the agreement over egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, he is suffering from selective memory, if not total denial.
gentleman from times gone by. He was soft-spoken, courtly, and wore his pants hoisted high and held up by suspenders; clearly, a European who had personally endured horrors in the last century.
Indeed, he had personally survived the Holocaust in Poland. Therefore, I could not immediately understand why he now attends a very left-wing synagogue—but, totally incomprehensible, was his unexpected and rather passionate defense of Poland and of the Poles. He argued on their behalf as if his very life still depended upon it.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s decision to visit Jerusalem but not Ramallah has prompted much comment.
The expectation of equal treatment goes back to the Oslo Accords’ signing in Sep. 1993, when the prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, represented his government in the handshake with Yasir Arafat, the much-despised chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. No one found it strange or inappropriate at the time but things look differently nearly a quarter century later.
Matthew Healy at the Atlantic, one of the few remaining liberal anti-censorship magazines, offers a disingenuous counterpoint to the debate over political correctness.
The attempts to silence dissenting points of view are counter-speech, according to Healy. And counter-speech is an important form of free expression.