Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted five rockets from Gaza early Thursday morning, JTA reports. The short range system was deployed above the southern city of Ashkelon, and no injuries were reported.
Hours later, the Israel Air Force fired on several sites in northern Gaza, including an underground rocket launcher, a weapon storage facility and a weapons manufacturing site, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
“The IDF response was precise, swift and efficient in eliminating terror capabilities that only exist in order to terrorize, kill and maim Israelis,” IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in a statement.
In December 2012, Tablet contributor Eetta Prince-Gibson reported on Labor politician Amir Peretz’s struggle to get the Iron Dome system past a skeptical Israeli military and political establishment, and the potential implications of adopting the new defense technology.
This defensive system is more than a pyrotechnic wonder: It represents the success of a paradigmatic shift in Israeli military thinking. Over the last decade, the IDF’s leadership, traditionally focused on offensive strategies, gradually invested in defensive systems. If deployed wisely, these defensive systems—including the Arrow antimissile system, which defends against long-range missiles; and David’s Sling, which is intended to protect against medium-range missiles—could also prove to be a political game-changer for Israel and enemies like Hamas and Hezbollah.
Iron Dome was last deployed in October 2013, intercepting a rocket from Gaza launched just before the controversial release of 26 Palestinian prisoners. A second rocket fell in uninhabited territory near Ashkelon.
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Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.