Last week, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told Ehud Barak, his Israeli counterpart, that the Pentagon will seek to provide an additional $70 million for Israel’s Iron Dome short-range rocket shield. The news of the funding couldn’t come at a better time for Israel.
The United States has already infused some $205 million into the Iron Dome system, which uses small, radar-guided missiles to destroy in midair rockets and mortar shells, which have rained down on Israeli towns and cities such as Sderot and Ashkelon in recent years. The Iron Dome has been described as a ‘game changer.’ Indeed, it has intercepted some 80 percent of the rockets fired by Hamas in the month of March alone, when more than 300 armed projectiles were shot into Israel from Gaza.
While the world’s attention is focused upon the fledgling preliminary talks underway between Iran and the West … we cannot lose sight of the fact that Israel continues to be under attack by Iran’s terrorist agents, Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon….
The pounding from Hamas and Hezbollah are a constant threat to innocent Israeli citizens, who have 15 seconds to find cover from an incoming rocket.
That’s why Iron Dome and U.S funding and support for the project is so important. Iron Dome brings a significant measure of security to Israel, even if the system is not 100 percent effective.
But beyond the significant economic assistance which is so essential to the Iron Dome project, there is the very clear message that the U.S. support conveys: A clear message to Iran and its co-conspirators that even while the nuclear issue is being discussed, the United States will not lose focus on the security and well being of Israel and her people. And, it’s not just words. The leader of the Western world has made clear that it is willing to put its money where its counts, under an iron dome.
We commend Secretary Panetta’s decision.