It’s one thing to write about Iron Dome, and something completely different to see it in action. That’s something longtime Defense News reporter Barbara Opall-Rome got to experience last week.
Here is a letter that Rome, who works out of Tel Aviv, wrote to family and friends last week. Those of you on Twitter can follow her updates @OpallRome.
Last evening, while driving down south for Shabbat dinner with [husband] Zvi’s 92-year-old dad, we witnessed first-hand the fruit of Israeli technology delivering the goods in Israel’s ongoing Cloud of Defense campaign against Gaza-launched rockets and missiles.
Directly ahead of us, four fast-moving white lights — which we now know were extended-range Grad rockets — were starting their descent. Before Zvi could decide whether to put over to the side of the road, we watched amazed as one after the other was blown out of the sky by Israel’s Iron Dome intercepting missile defense system.
I’ve been writing about this system since its inception from a policy, technology and budgetary perspective. I’ve written about the $205 million special U.S. funding granted to Israel for expedited production of this life-saving capability. I’ve seen power point presentations and videos galore and I’ve acknowledged that without this capability, Israeli ground troops would already be in there slogging it out in a messy urban war.
But yesterday’s front-row exposure to this “balance-breaking” capability reinforced my admiration for the Israeli defense industry; my respect for the Israel Air Defense forces (many of them 19-year-old conscripts) operating the system; and my gratitude to the strong U.S.-Israeli partnership buttressing Israel’s security.
Needless to say, we offered a special prayer over Grandpa’s dinner table. We hope that Israel will come out of this round against Hamas-ruled Gaza with enhanced deterrence and the international legitimacy needed to ensure if not peace — that’s a pipe dream — then at least quiet for some time to come.