When John Lennon wrote the words for his song, Imagine, he related to far-fetched Utopian ideals – to concepts that ignore the realities of the world in which we live. He asked us to imagine a world without countries. The reality is that there are more than 200 countries around the world. He asked us to imagine a world where there’s no religion. But, in reality, there are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of different religions.
We live in a world of diversity. We speak thousands of different languages. We treasure different values. Our histories, our traditions, our folklores – they’re all so very different. We can’t simply ignore the realities just because they don’t gel with Lennon’s Utopian dream.
By his own admission, Lennon was a dreamer. But the stark reality of life is that one man’s meat is another man’s poison.
Like John Lennon, I’m also a dreamer. I also want to live in a world of peace and tolerance. In a world where people respect one another and help one another. Where people respect universal values. Where people treasure life. Where people don’t seek martyrdom in death. Where people are able to engage in constructive dialog as a means for resolving their differences.
Unlike Lennon, I have a need to be both pragmatic and practical. I need to imagine something that, until recently, never existed. Something real. Something I can compare to what life was like without it, and what life is like with it.
The Iron Dome is a mobile air defense system developed in Israel to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of between 4 and 70 kilometers and whose trajectory would take them to population centers in Israel. The maximum range was extended to 250 kilometers to enable interception of long-range missiles fired from Gaza. The efficacy of the Iron Dome air defense system is around 90%.
I never imagined this was possible. I see television footage of the interceptions and can’t believe what I’m seeing. It’s like something out of Star Wars. Science fiction at its best, or worst, depending on your taste.
Now let’s go into John Lennon mode and imagine.
It’s not difficult to imagine what the extent of the carnage in Israel would have been without the Iron Dome system.
Take a moment. Imagine the horrendous number of fatalities. Imagine the numbers of injured. Imagine the trauma and its effect on our children and grandchildren. Imagine the destruction. Imagine the devastation. Imagine the chaos in our hospitals and the vulnerability of our schools. Imagine the collapse of our economy and our banking system. Imagine being without water. Imagine having to live with an irregular supply of power.
It may be difficult to comprehend but it’s not difficult to imagine. Remember the footage from Syria caused by much less sophisticated weaponry. Damascus, Aleppo and Homs revisited. A little more. A little less. It’s not relevant.
Now, since we’re already in imagination mode, let’s consider the other side. Let’s imagine Gaza if Israel wouldn’t have so successfully designed and implemented the Iron Dome system.
Imagine public opinion in Israel following the carnage from the downpour of missiles from Gaza. Imagine the public outcry against the government to put an immediate stop to the carnage. Imagine the demonstrations and the civil violence. Imagine the dangers to our democracy if our armed forces unilaterally took control to restore law and order. No democratically elected government could sustain such pressure. The government would have no choice but to annihilate the enemy.
Take another moment. Imagine the number of civilian casualties in Gaza. Again, this may be difficult to comprehend but it’s not difficult to imagine. Remember the footage of the air strikes from World War II with less sophisticated weaponry. London, Berlin and Dresden revisited. Remember the carpet bombing in Afghanistan and Iraq by American and coalition forces with more sophisticated weaponry after 9/11. A little more. A little less. It’s not relevant.
Indeed. Difficult to comprehend. Easy to imagine.
Israel’s Iron Dome system is saving more lives in Gaza than it’s saving in Israel.
Imagine the situation and its consequences without it.
And thank you, John Lennon, for your inspiration.