Photo: Motti Kimchi
Iron Dome battery in central Israel
Photo: Motti Kimchi

Why is no one guarding the Iron Dome batteries in central Israel?

Journalists spend 10 minutes openly filming at site of unguarded anti-missile defense system, before solitary soldier shoos them away; locals say their complaints to authorities went unheeded, were told to go to media.

The news that Israel recently deployed Iron Dome batteries in the central Dan region, made the headlines of most national media outlets. Through the means of social networks, most Israelis are now aware of the system’s approximate location. That area in the center of the country is actually not far from main highways and residential houses. One can either walk on foot for a few minutes or ride for five minutes on a bike before reaching the world-famous anti-missile defense system.



The Yedioth Ahronoth team made the journey to the not-so-secret spot and stopped only some five meters away from the system where it could be admired in all its splendor, and where it was guarded only by a 2-meter-high fence that an average person could climb in a few seconds. The team stood at the spot for nearly 10 minutes, filming the system without anyone noticing it. The system was easily reachable and could have potentially been tampered with or sabotaged. Also, if some children had entered the area, they could have easily been hurt.


Iron Dome battery in central Israel (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Iron Dome battery in central Israel (Photo: Motti Kimchi)


The realization of how easy it is to neutralize the system, which is supposed to protect our children, was infuriating. There is no need to launch a precise missile or plant a sophisticated bomb, because a hand grenade, a Molotov cocktail or even oil could easily impair the functioning of the world's most advanced missile defense system.


If anything of this nature had actually happened, in Damascus and Gaza they would have been handing out candies in celebration, while in Israel a state commission of inquiry would have been established in order to investigate it, because if Iron Dome is disabled during a time of war, many people would lose their lives.


While the team was filming, quite a few dirt bikes, ATVs, toy planes and people walking their dogs went by the supposedly secure military site. After a long while, the team had finally been noticed by a female soldier some 50 meters from us on the other side of the fence. "It is forbidden to photograph here," she barked, prompting the team to wave her goodbye and walk away.


The female soldier was the only military personnel in the Iron Dome’s vicinity. Later, we approached a second battery located further along the fence and demonstratively began filming it. After a few minutes, two soldiers, who were standing relatively far, shouted at us ordering us to stop filming. No one asked for an identity card or checked what we had actually filmed. Even if the did ask, the soldiers do not have the authority to detain civilians until police arrives, and during that time countless amount of valuable intelligence could potentially be collected.


Iron Dome shooting down a Hamas rocket from Gaza (Photo: Reuters)
Iron Dome shooting down a Hamas rocket from Gaza (Photo: Reuters)


A woman who lives nearby, told us she had complained to the authorities about the lack of supervision over the Iron Dome but nothing was done. "One of the senior officials told me to appeal to the media, only then maybe something would be done," she said.


It is worth emphasizing that the soldiers stationed in the Iron Done’s proximity did their job as required and are not to blame for the contempt the upper military echelon has for the way this vital defense system is guarded.


Israeli military, nevertheless, insists that the area surrounding the batteries is being surveilled day and night. “The site in question is closed off and constitutes a closed military zone," the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said. "The site is manned and secured 24/7, by armed soldiers located in observation posts … as well as soldiers on alert … patrols are also carried out inside and outside the secured perimeter.”


פרסום ראשון: 01.28.19, 17:01
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