29 thoughts on “Israeli Arms Exports Declined by $1-Billion (15%) in 2013, Iron Dome Finds No Takers – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Notwithstanding Professor Postel’s limited, academic arguments, Iron Dome is highly effective at interdicting rockets. Iron Dome prohibitive costs, $50,000,000 for one battery, and $100,000 per missile, hurt sales, not to mention that this anti rocket system has a limited, specific usage.

    1. @ Fred: First, his name is “Postol,” not “Postel.” Second, his arguments aren’t “limited” but quite comprehensive. They’re not “academic” (whatever that means) but quite grounded in reality. He’s one of the world’s foremost experts on missile technology and teaches at MIT. So much for “limited” and “academic.” Third, you’ve once against substituted your opinion for fact w/o offering any evidence to support it, another comment violation.

      1. Most anti-ballistic missiles are designed NOT to collide with their target. Because they have exploding warheads, a near miss exploding with the target within the blast pattern is the most effective way to shoot down incoming missiles.
        Therefore,Ted Postol’s analysis is ‘limited’ because he doesn’t have real data on such things as the fuze patterns. The real data are highly classified.
        BTW, a hit that destroys the back end of the missile tube also destroys it’s stabilizing fins. This, of course negatively affects it’s aim, and often prevents the missile from detonating on contact.

        Postol first declares a mere 20% “head on collisions” and later in the article endorse an assessment of “a miserable 5%” effectiveness. Why’s that?

        Israel has a long history of field testing ordnance and experimental weapons. A targeting flaw in the original Patriot missile system was uncovered by the Israelis which increased it’s effectiveness. There’ little doubt that Israel has ‘tweeked’ Iron Dome’s system and improved it since Professor Postol first critiqued Iron Dome back in 2010.

        Postol wasn’t in Israel this summer making his assessments, ‘in the field’. He was in Cambridge, watching a some daytime videos of vapor trails. Hardly hard evidence. I on the other hand, was an eyewitness.

        The Professor rushed to publish his article before the war had even ended. Where is the property damage assessment needed to substantiate his claims? Where are the scores of unexploded warheads you’d expect to find littering the streets of Central Israel during the course of Protective Edge ? Every Israeli with a cellphone should be sharing photos of his property damage and unexploded ordance, but there really arent’ any to share.

        1. @ Fred: Iron Dome is NOT an anti-ballistic missile. It is designed to shoot down rockets, not missiles. Do you understand the difference? The fact that you don’t destroys any credibility on the subject you might profess. And no, Postol makes very clear that the only true way to destroy a rocket is to hit it head on. A side or rear impact will not destroy it.

          The very problem with Iron Dome is precisely as you have exposed it. The only entity that can truly prove it works is the IDF which has refused to release any information proving it does. But Prof. Postol has plenty of experience & evidence to offer showing it’s failed. In response, the IDF offers nothing. I know who I choose to believe given that situation.

          This, of course negatively affects it’s aim

          As the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists points out in its own debunking of Iron Dome, rockets cannot be “aimed” or directed at all except in their launch angle or the amount of propellant used. And you are wrong about a rear hit–it doesn’t destroy the rocket. It merely bounces it out of its trajectory so that it will hit somewhere or something else.

          A targeting flaw in the original Patriot missile system was uncovered by the Israelis

          Prof. Postol discovered more than a targeting flaw. He discovered that the Patriot system was useless in the first Gulf War. As for Israeli testing of weapons, don’t try to blow smoke up our arses. Merely saying something is so doesn’t cut it here. And I’ve grown tired of your refusing to support opinion with evidence. Your next comment rule violation will result in moderation.

          You don’t have to be an eyewitness to Iron Dome to determine it isn’t effective. It’s almost like saying I can’t determine Israel lost the Lebanon war because I didn’t see the defeat first hand. Again contrary to your claim, videos can show a rocket engineer everything he needs to know about whether a product is a success or a dud. And he’s had many years to research Iron Dome. And he’s far from the only scientist who shares these views. The Bulletin, which I’ve mentioned above, & which is one of the distinguished independent NGOs on military & intelligence technology is notoriously skeptical about Iron Dome.

          So don’t paint Postol as your only enemy. He’s one of many.

          I detest hasbara-mongers like you. You’re on notice.

  2. It isn’t just that Israel’s “unique military position” makes Iron Dome unattractive. It’s more accurate to say that Iron Dome is designed to tackle a “military threat” that simply isn’t worth tackling.

    Those rockets are completely unguided, and the vast majority contain little – if any – explosive warheads.

    So even if there is a successful “intercept” then all that Iron Dome has done is to shove an inert lump of iron a little bit to the left or a little bit to the right in its already-completely-random flight path.

    But that inert lump of iron still lands with an inert THUD! – just as it was always going to land with an inert THUD! – and all that has been achieved is to make it land with a THUD! *there* rather than *here*.

    Big deal. Anybody who is spending their own money (i.e. everyone but the IDF) is going to be monumentally unimpressed by that “success” story, which is precisely why nobody except the Uncle-Sam-Cashed-Up IDF is willing to pay for that dubious privilege.

  3. Really, did NaMo meet Bibi somewhere on the sidelines in NY? India has other priorities.

    The government announced that Modi will have close to 50 engagements during his visit to the US starting September 26, including his summit meet with Obama and his UNGA address on September 27.

    “We see Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to New York and Washington as a signal of India’s abiding commitment to multilateralism …”

    India blacklists Israel Military Industries for 10 years | Haaretz |

    The CBI recommended that action be taken against the companies. The decision is expected to affect not only IMI’s activities in India but also those of other Israeli defense firms …

  4. I really don’t know if the Iron Dome has about 90% success rate or less. I’m not sure the IDF report is true but the number of casualties from rockets was very low. If it works then great. If it doesn’t then the Israeli government did a great job making your (US) tax money fund large part of the system and created many jobs in Israel.

      1. It was higher. I think only one civilian was killed by a rocket in an area covered by Iron Dome during this last war.

          1. @ Elad: So leaving Israel’s Bedouin citizens unprotected is acceptable? Sorry, but if you’ve got citizens & don’t use Iron Dome to protect them, that’s criminal & racist.

      2. Here’s a link to a report on the number of Israeli rocket fatalities since 2001 (rockets fired from Gaza only):


        Total Gaza rocket fatalities in Israel from 2001 to present: 23 (average of less than 2 per year

        Rocket fatalities during Cast Lead (2008): 3 (no Iron Dome deployment at time)

        Rocket fatalities during Pillar of Cloud (2011) 1 (limited deployment of Iron Dome)

        Rocket fatalities during Protective Edge (Solid Rock): 1 (extensive deployment of Iron Dome)

        Not a statistically significant difference, especially given the fact that many rockets were fired with low explosive loads during Protective Edge, in order to increase their range, and some even had no explosive load at all.

        1. tree, Pillar of Cloud was in 2012 and not 2011 and there were at least 3 people killed Grad in Kiryat Malachi (not 1):

          You are right, this is not statistically significant. You can look for the number of rockets fired at Israel over time, and wars, and you will see that in the last war the number was highest while rocket fatalities was the lowest.

        2. @ tree,
          44 citizens (not only Jews by the way) and 12 soldiers died from rockets and mortar fired on northern Israel during the Second Lebanese War.
          As a result the Iron Dome project got the boost to go into advanced stages of development.

          The data you are presenting is very lacking and misleading.
          During Cast Lead at least 547 rockets were fired.
          During Pillar of Cloud 1506 rockets and mortars were fired.
          During Protective Edge 4595 rockets and mortars were fired on to Israel.

          These numbers should give you a better perspective – as can be seen, statistically, the number of fatalities during Protective Edge should be about 27 without the Iron Dome (No. fatalities during Cast Lead/No. of rockets fired * No. of rockets fired during Protective Edge).

          I also believe you have your data is wrong about the fatalities.

          1. Sorry for the bad arithmetic – is should say 25 casualties.
            And I may add that if you really want to make a more valid statistic analysis you should also take in to account the learning curve Hamas gained during past conflicts and better technology along with population increase and other factors and I assure you – these numbers would be much higher.

          2. No, it’s not necessarily true that firing eight times as many rockets should lead to eight times the casualties.

            (I’ll note that your Cast Lead figures are for “rockets”, while the other two are for “rockets and mortars”, which makes your figures an “apples and oranges” comparison.)

            But, regardless, here is a simple and probably fair more accurate explanation for the death toll figures: Hamas tried to make their (unguided, remember) rockets go further, and did so by reducing – or even completely removing – the explosive warheads.

            That they “go further” increases the area that they fall into by the square of the distance i.e. there is more open-ground for them to fall into which, obviously, causes no injury.

            And reducing or eliminating the warhead ensures that the rockets land with a Thump! rather than with a Boom! so the changes of anyone being hurt is, obviously, much reduced.

            Put that together and it is perfectly possible for Hamas to fire 10x as many rockets without there bring any significant increase in the resulting death toll, and that could be true regardless of what Iron Dome does (or doesn’t) do.

  5. “So leaving Israel’s Bedouin citizens unprotected is acceptable?”

    Did I say that? That is a different subject and commenting about it would be a violation of the comment rules (rule #9). But since you opened the door…
    No, it’s not acceptable to leave any citizens unprotected, not only the Bedouins. It’s not acceptable that they don’t have shelters and in some places they don’t hear the siren alerts. BTW, there are other citizens which are not protected by the Iron Dome as there are not enough of those to go around. You probably know that the Bedouins are spread over a very large area (very sparse) and I guess a better use of the limited Iron Dome systems is to place them near large population areas. Along the years the Bedouins were neglected by the Israeli governments but they have also something to do with it.

    1. @ Elad: False, Bedouins are in the Negev & only in relatively small parts of the Negev. I don’t care how big or small the area they occupy. You know as well as I the real reason they’re left unprotected: they’re not Jews. So you’re in effect saying a “better use” of Iron DOme would be to protect Jews. You can be damn sure that Jewish population centers in the Negev like Beersheva & other places are protected.

      Quite racist of you to say the Bedouin themselves, victims of Israeli Jewish racism, are to blame for their own bad fate. Distasteful. Israel & Jews like you are solely to blame for Bedouin not so benign neglect. The Bedouin have no obligation to agree to proposals of the State. Since they predated the State it is the State that is obligated to serve them in the way they wish to be served. Cities disguised as detention camps aren’t sufficient.

      Your comments are moderated because you’ve previously violated comment rules multiply times. If you complain about my editorial policies here on Twitter again, that you may forfeit all your comment privileges. That’s real passive-aggressive behavior.

      1. You are wrong. The Bedouins are spread quite well over the Negev:

        What didn’t you understand when I wrote: “Bedouins were neglected by the Israeli governments”.

        I’m not going to comment again on this topic in this post as it’s against the rules.

      2. @ Richard,
        I don’t see why you think that only jews are protected. There are several mainly jewish populated towns in between the bedouins lands – they are not protected as well.
        There are also the jewish towns right on the boarder with Gaza Strip which are to close to be protected by the Iron dome.
        In past conflict there, when there weren’t as many Iron Domes – there was a debate where to put them. It was decided to install them near vastly populated area such as Beer Sheva and Ashkelon – other large but not as large towns were still in harms way.
        About the alarms – I was stationed in one of the settlements near Ramallah during Protective Edge – there’s no alarms as well in the small ones – although they should have a sounded several times.

      3. If the Iron Dome is ineffective why is it an issue that some people aren’t covered by it? Surely it makes no difference? It would be an issue only if the thing actually worked.

  6. @ Not necessarily,
    First of all the word mortar just slipped – all the numbers are for mortars and rockets – so I’m comparing apples and apples.
    The fact that you’d even think that there’s ‘not necessarily’ a correlation between the number of rockets fired to the casualties count is ridiculous – especially with time, since technology and experience play a major role in this type of ammunition.

    “Hamas tried to make their (unguided, remember) rockets go further, and did so by reducing – or even completely removing – the explosive warheads.”

    The VAST majority of rockets and mortars weren’t fired at Tel Aviv and Hadera – that was for PR purposes. The vast of them was fired at cities and towns surrounding the Gaza Strip – no removing of explosive needed – and as a result, most of the casualties and damage are within these areas in all the past conflicts.
    It’s is also noteworthy that in past conflicts Hamas fired rockets at Tel Aviv and more northern targets so they are within the statistics.

    Seems to me that you are grasping at straws here – what are you trying to prove exactly?

    1. “The fact that you’d even think that there’s ‘not necessarily’ a correlation between the number of rockets fired to the casualties count is ridiculous – especially with time, since technology and experience play a major role in this type of ammunition.”

      Like Richard I’m finding your pronouncements to be increasingly tedious.

      Actually t.h.i.n.k. about this, because Hamas certainly have.

      They have certainly come to the conclusion that what is important is the number of air-raid sirens they set off, and the number of breathless “OMG! They’re hitting Tel Aviv now!!!” headlines that they can generate.

      The number of deaths would be – from their PoV – incidental i.e. it’d be nice if they hit something, but that isn’t the measure of their “success”.

      “The VAST majority of rockets and mortars weren’t fired at Tel Aviv and Hadera – that was for PR purposes. The vast of them was fired at cities and towns surrounding the Gaza Strip – no removing of explosive needed – and as a result, most of the casualties and damage are within these areas in all the past conflicts.”

      Here’s a quick question: how many of those “rockets and mortars” that were fired were…. mortars?

      And here’s a follow-up question: how many “cities and towns surrounding the Gaza Strip” are within the range of…. mortars?

      You need to know the answer to both of those questions, otherwise your assumptions go up in smoke.

      After all, this is a truism: mortars are battlefield weapons, so those thousands of mortars being fired by Hamas into Israel can – and very probably is – merely a perfectly-legitimate counter-barrage fired in response to the thousands of tank and artillery shells being fired by the IDF into the Gaza Strip.

      After all, during a “shooting war” Hamas is perfectly entitled to shoot at IDF tanks and howitzers, correct?

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