Above the Iron Dome

by | May 23, 2021 | Blog


A friend, call him Reuben, rang us up from Ashdod a few days ago. Ordinarily, receiving a phone call from 30 miles away would seem unexceptional, but Ashdod was under attack at the time. Hundreds of Hamas missiles had fallen in and around his hometown when Reuben called, at about the middle of the latest episode of Israel’s unending war with…almost everyone.

Most but not all hostile missiles aimed at Ashdod (and elsewhere in Israel) had been blown out of the sky by Israel’s Iron Dome missiles. Two Ashkelon women (12 miles from Ashdod) had been killed by incoming at the time of Reuben’s call, two others were seriously injured. The homes of those victims had received direct hits, as had at least eight others after Hamas fired uncounted missiles at the small city as part of what the terrorists proudly described as their “largest barrage ever.”

It was reported at the time of the now active ceasefire—italics used here because, in the Middle East, there is really no such thing—Hamas had fired well over four thousand missiles at Israel, all of them more modern than those they got off during their last fundraiser. (Formerly Hamas used short-range Qassam rockets with a range of about 6 miles but, in their latest attacks, they employed medium-range rockets with a range of 25 miles, Iranian M-75 rockets and J-80 rockets with a range of between 50-60 miles. Most Hamas officials declined to credit their daddy, Iran, for providing them with the necessary funds, technical support and weaponry to perfect their heroism, perhaps because between 10 and 20 percent of whatever they start off toward Israel somehow lands in Gaza. Their misfires severely damaged both their own electrical and water supplies, inflicting great hardship on their supply of human shields, but no one is perfect.)

Per the Jerusalem Post, head of the Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh said Friday hours after the ceasefire, “Hamas will continue to ‘defend’ Jerusalem… Haniyeh suggested that Hamas’s current objective is to continue fueling the ongoing violence between Palestinians and security forces in the West Bank and in Jerusalem.”

Haniyeh also tweeted, “the resistance brought to an end the illusions of the deal of the century, normalization, and resettlement plans.” How proud he must be.

Ashdod and its neighboring city Ashkelon are two of the five ancient Philistine towns mentioned many times in the Book of Judges. Some scholars believe that the Philistines in Judges were members of the infamous “Sea Peoples,” a hypothesized confederation that attacked ancient Egypt and other regions in the East Mediterranean prior to, and perhaps causing, what is known as the Late Bronze Age Collapse.

Our friend Reuben is a building subcontractor from Ashdod who, when not huddled in a bomb shelter with his family, works in Jerusalem. He had been scheduled to take a few measurements at our home here to provide an estimate for a small project.

“I can’t make it today,” he told us, almost apologetically. “I need to stay home with my family.”

Understood. Ashdod, Israel’s sixth-largest city, lies less than 20 miles north of Gaza and its terrorist government, Hamas. If you consult the international media or visit a typical American college campus, you will learn from most that Hamas are “freedom fighters.” Regardless of how one may characterize them, they are easily recognized by their full-faced masks, tunneling expertise, Jew hatred, keenness for indiscriminate bombing and frequent use of human shields.

As Israel responded to the attacks with her military, The New York Times, for example, described the IDF’s efforts to blunt Hamas’ missile assault as “a major escalation of violence.” The wholly disingenuous code phrase used by much of the international media to fault Israel’s employment of the IDF for self-defense, is proportionate response. Israel must respond against its attackers proportionately, they say. One pundit tweeted, once Israel struck back, that not nearly enough Jews had died to justify its response.

Clearly, Israel’s critics misuse the term. “Proportionality in international law is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about [equality of] firepower. Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity.” [The Doctrine of Proportionality, Shoshana Bryen, 2014, emphasis added]

But the unending and frankly, vacuous calls for proportionality from Israel’s critics are no more than hollow complaints. Does anyone believe Israel’s critics would be pleased if Israel, instead of employing its legitimate armed forces, responded “proportionately,” as they define it, by lobbing countless missiles into innocent Gaza neighborhoods? Or if Israel built terror tunnels, like Gaza, to threaten civilian Gazan homes, as Hamas has done for years in southern Israel?

At the time of this writing, as mentioned, a ceasefire is in effect between the terrorists and Israel. Though Hamas’ attacks during the eleven active days of engagement, thus far, have resulted in significant death, injury, trauma, property loss and human suffering in Israel, Gazan citizens, who knowingly elected their terrorist government and now cannot remove it, have suffered mightily.

In Israel, we are thankful for the Iron Dome. The pain incurred here would have been much worse if not for its effectiveness, given Iran’s expanding support for our violent neighbors and the West’s continuing funneling of “humanitarian” aid to the terrorist government (funds that, instead of improving the Gazan quality of life, are used to buy more missiles and concrete with which to build tunnels).

The Iron Dome achievement is no small feat. Just forty years ago shooting down missiles with other missiles was flatly considered impossible; a technical problem that couldn’t be solved. Now, Israeli-built Iron Dome missiles are reported to shoot down about 90% of what they aim at. (You can find estimates of Iron Dome success rates as low as 30% on the Internet but, when over 4,000 rockets are launched rapidly at major population areas and yet so little (relative) damage is done, the higher number seems much more believable.)

During the 2014 chapter of the Gaza War, a friend came to dinner at our place in Jerusalem. She had taken the bus across town and, when she alighted midway to transfer, she had looked up in time to witness what she excitedly reported to us as “a magnificent explosion.” She had looked on, firsthand, as an Iron Dome missile had popped a Gaza rocket out of the sky over Jerusalem.

“The missiles exploded in midair like fireworks and no one was hurt,” she told us. “It was a miracle.”

Yes, we agree.

SUBSCRIBE to continue reading this article and access more content about Israel and the Messianic Community around the world.

A Biblical View of Messiah’s Miraculous Birth

The Tanakh, also known as the Old Testament, prophecies of a Messiah who will come to usher in an era when the people of the world will live together in harmony and righteousness. The term Messiah (Mashiach in Hebrew) means “anointed one.” From the beginning, the...

Sukkot: The Jewish Thanksgiving

The Bible is filled with many references to thanksgiving and gratitude. The word ‘thanksgiving’ is found about thirty times, with nine references specifying being thankful toward G-d. The word gratitude is mentioned over one-hundred and fifty times. G-d is the...

Golden Anniversary for Jews for Jesus

Yovel, the Hebrew word for the “Jubilee Year”, means “blowing the ram’s horn of liberty.” It is a fitting word for the 50th anniversary celebration this year of Jews for Jesus, the ministry that brought a tsunami change to Jewish evangelism worldwide led by its...

A Messianic View of the High Holy Days

Over the last five decades, Messianic Judaism has evolved and developed, especially in the observances of Jewish holidays and practices, with most of these traditions originating from traditional Judaism, with the High Holy Days being no exception. The High Holy Days...

MJAA Lifetime Achievement Award – Rabbi Paul Liberman

 A Lifetime Achievement Award is an amazing accomplishment that is given to an exemplary individual for having outstanding vision, dedication, and commitment to their life’s work. Rabbi Paul Liberman has dedicated five decades of his life to the Messianic Jewish...

Congregation Beth Yeshua’s New Home

“Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored, says the L-rd.” This Word of the L-rd came to and through Haggai, the prophet, as G-d desired to see the building of the second Temple in Jerusalem....

Shavuot: The Original Revival

Since the infamous Asbury Revival in Wilmore, Kentucky quietly erupted this year on February 8th, America and much of the world, especially the Christian and Messianic Jewish world, have been energized by this unexpected move of G-d upon a spiritually hungry group of...

A Bridge From the Past: The Sassoon Codex 1053

One of the world’s great historical treasures is coming up for auction at Sotheby’s this May. Expected to break all records and sell for upwards of $50 million, Codex Sassoon 1053 is the oldest, most complete Hebrew Bible in existence. A codex differs from a book in...

Will Israel Adopt Judicial Reforms?

On March 27, 2023, with Israel on the brink of a self-inflicted implosion, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bibi, announced that he would delay his government’s controversial pursuit of judicial reform until the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, returns from a recess at...

Remembering Rabbi Chaim Dov Urbach

Rabbi Chaim Dov Urbach was born in Ramat Gan, Israel, on February 16, 1951. At the age of three, his family moved to Brazil and for two years, they lived in a rural area, in a town called Americana, founded after the American Civil War by a group of confederate...