Ted Sheskin
Ted Sheskin

Augmenting Iron Dome with a Repayment Rocket

Israel is unique. No other nation is told that it has no right to exist, is the target of threats to wipe it off the face of the earth, and is frequently bombarded by rockets. When Israel’s May 2021 war with Hamas ended, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system had saved many Israeli lives by destroying about 90% of more than 4,300 rockets fired without warning at Israel civilians. Although Hamas still possesses additional rockets, Israel has depleted its inventory of Iron Dome interceptor rockets. Happily for Israel, an overwhelming majority of the U.S. House of Representatives voted for additional funds to replenish Israel’s supply of interceptor rockets for the Iron Dome.

While a missile defense system is necessary for saving Israeli lives, missile defense alone will not discourage future rocket attacks. For this reason, at the risk of further angering people who want to deny Israel the right to defend itself, we propose that Israel should augment its Iron Dome missile defense system by adding a light counter offensive capability. The Iron Dome system has three elements: radar that detects an incoming rocket; a control system that determines whether human lives or infrastructure are threatened; and an interceptor rocket that, upon command by the control system, is launched to try to destroy an incoming rocket before it strikes.

Our proposal is that Israel should use its own funds to design and build a fourth element: a repayment rocket without an explosive warhead to be launched toward the source of an incoming rocket. Both an interceptor rocket and a repayment rocket will be fired simultaneously by the Iron Dome control system. Israel will publicly warn the people of Gaza that a repayment rocket will automatically follow every rocket fired into Israel. Hopefully, the certainty of repayment rockets will induce civilians of Gaza to vigorously demand an end to rocket attacks against Israel.

About the Author
Ted Sheskin is an emeritus professor of industrial engineering and the author of a textbook, Markov Chains and Decision Processes for Engineers and Managers. He has published peer-reviewed papers on engineering systems and mathematical algorithms. His letters to editors addressing politics, economic policy, and issues facing Israel and American Jews have appeared in the NY Times, Daily News, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland Jewish News, Jewish Week, and Jewish Voice.
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