Israel's New Hero: the Father of Iron Dome
Brig. Gen. (res.) Dr. Danny Gold, former head of research and development at the Defense Ministry, is Israel's current hero and media darling, and the man receiving most of the credit for the development of the Iron Dome anti-missile system.
Also receiving credit is MK Amir Peretz, who selected Iron Dome over other systems as the IDF's weapon of choice against rockets, when he was defense minister.
Dr. Gold insisted on pushing forward research and development of the system, together with Rafael Systems, despite official decisions to freeze funding for the project, and firece criticsm from competitors who insisted that the system is worthless. His steadfastedness in advancing the program proved crucial in making the system ready for use in Israel's 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense and the current Operation Protective Edge.
Dr. Gold received the 2012 Israel Defense Prize for his role in developing Iron Dome.
The system is thus far proving wildly successful, with over 90% success in shooting down enemy missiles and helping avoid civilian casualties. Also receiving kudos for their role in the relatively low casualty rate in Israel are the Israelis themselves, who have been surprisingly disciplined in following Home Front Command instructions, rushing to sheltered spaces once sirens are sounded.
The IDF received its eighth Iron Dome battery on Saturday.
Iron Dome's missile batteries have even become internal tourist attractions, with dozens of people flocking to the batteries in order to witness them at work, take pictures of them and handing out food and drink to the soldiers who man them. This unexpected popularity has proven itself to be a hazard, and police cars were dispatched to some of the batteries to keep civilians away from them.