For years Israel’s Arab neighbors have grown accustomed to routine unprovoked attacks on their infrastructure, soldiers and civilians by the Jewish state.
While Syria’s air defense has been increasing its success rate in quashing Israeli raids, the latest exchange between the two countries has opened up the possibility to strike back.
Yesterday, a missile bypassed Israel’s Patriot, Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile defense systems and landed close to the delicate Dimona nuclear reactor in its Southern desert, triggering panic in the city when its alarm went off. The Dimona nuclear facility is highly secretive as it is used to produce the Israel’s illegal nuclear weapons.
A press release by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) made no specific mention of this, which is unusual. The Israeli military is claiming that the projectile was an errant Syrian surface to air missile intended for Israeli jets, but this is difficult to believe as it flew across half of Israel from far away Damascus.
For Israel’s rivals, the American tax payer funded Iron Dome system has been a psychological barrier to punching Israel back. While Hamas has in the past been able to get small rockets through the system, the goal in these attacks has always been to waste Israel’s money (Iron Dome missiles cost $100,000 each) rather than attack strategic targets.
Accidental or not, Wednesday’s lapse in Israel’s defense, near its nuclear facility no less, shows that it is very vulnerable to rapidly advancing Iranian and possibly even Russian technology that has found its way into Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah’s hands.
Just days ago, Israeli military officials raised alarms about the Iron Dome system potentially being junk. According to retired Colonel Yossi Langotsky, the Iron Dome would not be able to intercept Hezbollah rockets launched into Israeli territory with consistency.
There is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest Iranian involvement. Last week, Iranian military analyst Sadollah Zarei suggested that any Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities should be met with retaliation against their Dimona reactor. Landing a missile 30 kilometers from Dimona could be a message to Jewish leadership that they are serious.
The Israeli military also announced in recent weeks that it was rushing defense resources to Dimona due to fears that the Iranians could hit the nuclear base as revenge for the brazen assassination campaign against their scientists. This, like their Syria story, also seems like a lie, as the Iranians and Syrians know that triggering a nuclear catastrophe in Israel would be automatic grounds for a full war not just with Israel, but the United States. The more plausible scenario is that Israel wanted the Iranians to believe that, if ever tested, the defense of its vital infrastructure is impenetrable so that they can keep bombing Iranian power plants on the table without risking mutual consequences.
None of the players involved have an interest to tell us what really happened yesterday. Whatever the exact details are, Israeli homeland defense has been exposed as a paper tiger.
As Russia and China begin overshadowing the United States and Western Europe on the world stage, Iran is able to assert its interests in spite of what Jews in Washington and Jerusalem think. The era of uncontested Israeli hegemony is coming to an end.