Worrying news for Israel: the future of its ‘Iron Dome’ missile defence system is at risk (Telegraph blog)
In March 2011, Israel’s Iron Dome missile interception system was deployed, after four years in the making. The intention was to form a protective canopy over the country, rendering its population centres as impregnable as possible to attacks from short-range artillery and rockets. But now, to the gall of many Israelis, the future of the system has been thrown into doubt.
In terms of size, Israel is roughly comparable to Wales. This, together with the close proximity of a host of hostile neighbours, means that millions of Israelis live within easy range of artillery attack. During the Lebanon War of 2006, 44 Israeli civilians were killed by rockets fired across the border, and millions more were evacuated or confined to air raid shelters. Iron Dome was supposed to end all this. It is now operational 24 hours a day, and can function on multiple fronts simultaneously, even in inclement weather.
The project was jointly funded by Israel and the United States, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars provided in addition to the annual $3 billion of military aid that America routinely provides to Israel. Last week, however, Randy Jennings, a former Congressional aide on defence issues and a defence industry consultant, warned that funding to Iron Dome may be stopped during the proposed process of “sequestration”, in which $100 billion of next year’s budget will be cut across the board, beginning in January. Continue reading on the Telegraph website