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ASHLEY FAINTUCH'S REPORT FROM AIPAC CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON RE: ISRAEL MISSILE DEFENSE

by Ashley Faintuch, June 9, 2011

Israel is facing rising threats of missile and rocket attacks from her neighbours. A three-person panel discussed missile defense systems and how the United States and Israel have worked together to create effective missile defense systems. The panel began with Jeff Kuhnreich, Deputy Director, policy and Government Affairs, AIPAC giving an overview of the threat of missile attacks and background to cooperation. The main speaker of the panel was Arieh Herzog, who has been the Director of the Israeli Missile Defense Organization for over 11 years. He talked about four different missile defense mechanisms as well as showed videos of the missile defense systems in action.

 

The threats Israel faces include range the missiles can reach, missiles having unconventional warheads, countless types of rockets and quantity of rockets, Gaza has countless rockets that can reach 80+ km (and reach Tel Aviv). Israel aims to provide a safe country for her citizens and has created a number of missile interceptors with help from the United States. These interceptors are: Arrow, Arrow 3, David’s Sling and Iron Dome.
 
The interceptors are part of a multi-tier active defense architecture in place to provide appropriate defense to Israel. The Arrow and Arrow 3 interceptors have the ability to counter ballistic missiles from Iran and are part of the upper tier defense layer. 
 

 

 

The David’s Sling, operates like a sling, and counters short range, tactical missiles, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles often coming from Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Iron Dome was implemented two months ago, and has shown its first success April 7th. The Iron Dome is the smallest system and is used to protect Israel from short-range rockets. 

 

This system is implemented in rockets from Hamas in Gaza heading for Beer Sheva and Ashkelon. All of these interceptors are expensive to operate, but the cost is necessary for the safety of Israelis and will continue to be executed until Israel has a partner for peace in the region.

 

Since this was an AIPAC Policy Conference, with the focus of US and Israel relations and how the two countries can be safer, stronger, and better together, there was great emphasis on the role the United States plays into the missile defense mechanisms. The aforementioned interceptors have been developed through knowledge sharing and funding between Israel and the United States. This is because the United States recognizes the threats Israel is facing and need to save lives and defend citizens, while also recognizing the importance of American safety and the rising threat to the United States. To further explain the US-Israel relationship, was the Honorable Steve Rothman, a Democrat from New Jersey and member of the Appropriations Committee. Rothman began by stating the United States has great interest in the security of Israel for a number of reasons. He says it is vital for national security interests of the United States, and can be backed by Congressmen Robert Gates and Mike Mullen. Rothman went on to state that Israel is important to the United States because of her location. Israel is located on the Mediterranean Sea and in close proximity to the Suez Canal, which is a major energy route, and the Persian Gulf, also a major transport artery. Israel is also important to the United States and national security due to intelligence, Israel provides great intelligence to the United States and the sharing is reciprocated. Both are good, reliable and trustworthy partners for the other.

 

Part of why the United States-Israel relationship is so strong is because of Israel’s reliability. As a democratic and stable nation wanting peace in a hostile, unfriendly and dangerous neighbourhood, the United States needs a friendly nation they can count on. With the strongest military in the region, and the surrounding area full of world energy resources, the United States needs a strategic partner who controls the waterways and will help protect them, and Israel fits the bill.   

 

 

 
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