Daily Israel Report

Prof Suggests Automatic Counter-Missile for Every Hamas Rocket

Does Nobel laureate Aumann have answer to Hamas rockets? Automated system would make clear Hamas is to blame.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/9/2014, 11:19 PM

Professor Yisrael Aumann
Professor Yisrael Aumann
Flash 90

Nobel laureate Professor Yisrael (Robert) Aumann has an idea that could turn the tables on Hamas's rocket terror against Israel.

In a recent lecture, he described his vision for a fully automatic system that would fire a rocket back at Gaza immediately, whenever Gaza terrorists fired a missile at Israel. Presumably, these missiles would be randomly or automatically aimed in a way that would inflict civilian casualties on the Arab side, just as Hamas seeks to cause civilian casualties on the Israeli side.

Asked about the idea in an interview by NRG, Aumann said: “I'm working on it. The goal is truly that the system will be without any human involvement, no human control. This is very important, because if there is control, they will tell us that we are criminals and murderers and cruel.”

However, he explained, if there is no control of the system on the Israeli side, the responsibility for civilian deaths caused on the Arab side falls on the people who fired the missiles that set off the Israeli system. Prof. Aumann compared this to a situation in which the Arabs “take their women and children and force them to walk through a dangerous minefield.”

Would the system keep the world from blaming Israel? Prof. Aumann says that there will probably be criticism in any case, “but at least then we will feel more at ease with ourselves. If the response fire is automatic, the [Israeli] threat is convincing: when Hamas fires a rocket at Israel, it also fires a missile at Gaza.”

Hamas has terrorized Israel with rocket fire for 14 years. The rockets are effective at disrupting and traumatizing the lives of millions, even though they cause relatively few deaths. They have become even less effective since the advent of the Iron Dome anti-missile system, but now reach longer ranges with larger warheads, and are still dangerous enough to terrorize most of Israel's civilian population. Three times in the last 4.5 years, Israel has launched military campaigns against Gaza terrorists, but these always involve the inadvertent killing of a large number civilians, for which other countries are quick to blame Israel, despite proof that Hamas deliberately uses its civilians as human shields.

Prof. Aumann, a mathematician, is a professor at the Center for the Study of Rationality in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. He received the Nobel prize for economics in 2005 for his work on conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis. 

The Executive Committee of the University of Haifa recently refused to award an honorary doctorate to Professor Aumann, due to his pro-Israel politics. He responded sarcastically, saying "I'm very disappointed. I’ve prayed and aspired to getting an honorary doctorate from Haifa University for my whole life.”