Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz at a weekly Cabinet meeting on April 29, 2007, in Jerusalem.(Getty)

Amir Peretz, famously remembered for being photographed looking through a closed set of binoculars, may have achieved one of the greatest legacy-enhancing feats by doing leading the way with the Iron Dome system, which played a starring role in Operation Pillar of Defense.

By the time Peretz assumed his position as defense minister in 2006, Israeli military developers had been attempting to develop a defensive weapons system. But in the face of technological difficulties and military opposition, the plan had remained a low priority. It was Peretz who demanded that the project be put into high gear.

While some of the military and political leadership’s reservations came from Iron Dome’s technological feasibility—initial development had focused on laser technology, which is unreliable in poor weather—the greatest objections came from the highest echelons of the military, who were unwilling to include strong defensive components in Israel’s security strategy. “We call our army, the Israel Defense Forces,” Peretz told me. “But our military strategy has always been built on offensive capabilities. The military was concerned that defensive strategies would make our enemies think that we are weak. The army has always thought that the only response to force is more force.”

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