Skip to main content

Despite advancing technology, IDF faces dilemma on Gaza border

Israel successfully intercepts rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, but fails in addressing the threat of incendiary kites launched by Hamas activists.

The exchange of violence between Israel and the Gaza Strip at the end of May revealed another remarkable achievement of Israeli technology. For the first time ever, Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system successfully shot down barrages of short-range mortar shells fired extensively by Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas at Israeli settlements adjacent to the border fence. Few people believed that it would be possible to shoot down mortar shells that are small targets, in the air for such a short time and travel such a short distance. But it happened. Engineers from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems overcame this difficulty and made it possible to shoot down the tiny shell, despite it being fired at a steep trajectory toward a relatively close target. Iron Dome has achieved an impressive rate of success in doing this, eliminating yet another terrorist threat against the Israeli population living along the border fence.

This significant achievement has flown under the radar because of the incendiary kites being launched from Gaza. For the past few weeks, Israel has been left helpless in dealing with the new Palestinian “weapon,” which sets its fields and settlements on fire on a daily basis. Israel is a cyber superpower. The high-tech nation is a leader in drone technology. It sends satellites into space and can shoot down everything from mortar fire to intercontinental ballistic missiles that fly outside the earth’s atmosphere (with its Arrow missile system). Nevertheless, it doesn’t know what to do about kites flown from the Gaza Strip with flaming torches attached to their tails. These kites ignore the border fence, the underground border obstacle, the air force, the navy, ground forces, tanks and snipers. Their load, consisting of a small Molotov cocktail or a smattering of hot coals, has succeeded in setting fire to Israeli fields at the height of the harvest season.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.