Iron Dome deployed (archive)
Iron Dome deployed (archive)IDF Spokesman

For the first time since the anti-missile system became operational, an Iron Dome battery has been deployed in central Israel, where it protects Tel Aviv and its environs.

IDF Radio reported Wednesday that while the placement of the battery in its current location is for "training and tweaking" purposes, in case of a real threat it will be able to protect Tel Aviv and large swathes of the Dan Bloc area.

An Iron Dome battery was placed in Eilat earlier this month, a week after a Grad missile struck near the city.

The Iron Dome batteries number four in total and have mostly served to protect Israel's southern cities. However, the batteries are occasionally taken to be tested in other regions. A similar test has also been conducted in Haifa.

Iron Dome is a product of Israeli military technical ingenuity and a source of pride for the IDF. However, for many it also is a symbol of Israel's acceptance of a situation in which terror gangs humiliate the Jewish state and subject large cities to the terror of missile attacks over a period of many years, without a through and crippling response by the IDF.  

Israel's northern region came under repeated rocket attacks from southern Lebanon in the years that preceded Operation Peace for the Galilee in 1982, and Syrian artillery terrorized the eastern Galilee in earlier years as well. However, those threats did not have the range to affect large cities, whereas the Gaza rockets reach Be'er Sheva and beyond.