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WaPo analysis suggests Israel's 'Iron Dome' rocket defense system works too well, 'perpetuates' Gaza conflict — and readers have a field day

Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images

Yagil Levy — a professor at the Open University of Israel — penned an analysis for the Washington Post suggesting Israel's "Iron Dome" rocket defense system works too well and, as the headline reads, "perpetuates" Israel's present fighting against Hamas terrorists.

What's the background?

Levy — who studies "civil-military relations, particularly casualty sensitivity, civilian control, military-religious relations, and the social makeup of the armed forces" — wrote last Friday that when Iron Dome was first used in 2012, the idea was to protect Israel's citizens from "prolonged threat and the disruption of daily life."

But he also suggested Iron Dome has worked too well — on multiple levels.

Besides also limiting potential harm to Gaza civilians, Levy said the defense system has allowed Israel to gain "freedom of action against Hamas (for example, imposing restrictions on trade between Gaza and the West Bank), knowing that their responses, and those of other militias, would have limited impact on Israeli lives."

Essentially, he said because Iron Dome intercepts just about all incoming rockets, it reduces the "expected costs of bombing Gaza" and "allows Israel to act with less concern for civilian casualties, and gives Israel less incentive to find a political solution to its conflict with Gaza."

Levy concluded his analysis by saying, "Iron Dome up to this point has saved Israeli lives from Gaza rocket attacks, while enabling air campaigns against Palestinian citizens. But the reduced pressure to resolve the conflict with Gaza also means Iron Dome gives Israelis a false sense of security, based on technological success — which isn't guaranteed forever — rather than political solutions."

How did readers react?

In light of an analysis that more or less says Iron Dome makes the fighting unfair, readers of the piece had a field day:

  • "The Post has jumped the shark with this opinion piece," one reader shot back. "You should have titled it, 'We hate Jews, and think it should be easier to kill them!'"
  • "This is a terrible piece & all it is saying is that for peace to be hastened, more Israelis must feel vulnerable & endangered," another reader commented.
  • "Your headline is obscene," another reader noted. "It's akin to saying that there would be no conflict if the Jews would just be kind enough to let Hamas kill them all."
  • "The dumbest headline I've seen in years," another reader agreed. "Why not just go with 'Jews should kill themselves to offset the lives saved by the Iron Dome.'"
  • "Without the Iron Dome, Gaza would now be a parking lot. Desert glass. The Iron Dome protects Palestinians from the disgusting atrocities of Hamas perpetrated against Israel!" another reader observed. "No other country in the world exercises the restraint Israel does."
  • "If only the British had never invented radar, WW2 could have been over in just 18 months," another reader quipped.
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