‘Comment is Free’ contributor Giles Fraser penned an essay on July 19th addressing both the efficacy and spiritual dimension of Western missile (and missile defense) systems – using, as basis for his meditation, a new British government review of possible replacements for the Trident system, but focusing primarily on Israel’s Iron Dome, and the state’s reliance on such weapons for their citizens’ security.
(The theme and title of his essay is derived from the Hebrew word bitachon, the root of which, batach, means to lean or rest on someone or something, as in “to trust in God”: “It is better to trust in God than to trust in any man” – Psalms 118:9).
Interestingly, while making a case against what he suggests is an over-reliance on such weaponry (‘faith in princes’ which he juxtaposes with the biblically rooted trust in G-d), he makes a significant error when purporting to cite the number of rockets fired at Israel from Gaza during Operation Pillar of Defense’ in November.
Fraser writes, thus:
These days, bitachon doesn’t so much mean the Lord Almighty. It means Iron Dome, the missile defence system, designed to intercept rocket attacks on Israel. During operation Pillar of Defence,in 2012, during which Hamas fired over 100 rockets from Gaza into Israel, Iron Dome was seen to have been about 85% successful. The technology is impressive and is set to get even more so. Iron Dome is a game-changer.
However, while during the first 24 hours of the war roughly 100 rockets were fired into Israel, during the course of the entire eight-day conflict which ended on Nov. 22, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups launched approximately 1,500 rockets at Israel.
We will be seeking a correction to Fraser’s 15-fold undercount of deadly projectiles fired at Israeli civilians during that period.