We’re writing this Tuesday morning with the Beatles song “Here, There, and Everywhere” playing on our iPhone – broadcast through the Israeli army Galgalatz radio station. At any moment, the love song may be interrupted by the quiet announcement of an alert; missiles have been fired at Israel from Gaza all day as Hamas rejected a proposed cease fire.
When and how this round of fighting will end has yet to be determined. After the last song, the DJ provided a brief reminder of road etiquette when encountering one of the tanks that are moving toward the border with Gaza. (Bottom line: Keep your distance and be patient.)
But one thing is clear: Israel’s investment in missile defense has paid off.
The Iron Dome defense system was conceived in 2005; the first battery was unveiled in 2011. Now, Israel has eight units – each with several launchers holding 20 interceptors – and the ninth was announced to be coming on line this week.
Israel boasts that it has a 90 percent success rate for bringing down incoming rockets. More than one thousand rockets have been fired at Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv and Haifa; so far only one Israeli has died in the rocket attacks.
And in this, we have to acknowledge the role played by the United States.
American officials were initially skeptical of Iron Dome; missile defense had been hyped in Washington too hard, for too long, for Pentagon officials to believe that this would work.
But it did.
And after the initial development and funding by Israel, the United States jumped on board, allocating more than $700 million in aid for Iron Dome.
Senator Robert Menendez serves as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and he has been instrumental in pushing this funding through Congress.
He’s New Jersey’s senior U.S. senator, of course.
So as we listen to the Israeli radio – now playing Shlomo Artzi – and nervously await the next report of Israeli missiles, we can know that we are not only listening to Israel’s war. Through our senator, and our government, we are helping to fight it.
And for that, senator, we are grateful. Thank you.