The Israel Air Force (IAF) is now establishing a new anti-aircraft battalion whose task will be to test the Iron Dome anti-ballistic missile system for intercepting Qassam and Grad rockets fired from Gaza Strip at Sderot and other communities in the western Negev.

The IAF said the battalion will install the system and begin training with it in about four months in tandem with the development of a new fighting doctrine intended to respond to the tactics employed by Palestinian terrorists when they launch their rockets.

A high-ranking Israeli security source said the system would be able to handle the short-range rocket threat of the Qassam and Grad rockets and could also deal with shells with a larger caliber. Advanced radar would locate the rocket and launch an interceptor missile at the incoming target once it is deployed.

The battalion will also received the Magic Wand antiballistic missile system, which will perform a similar role against rockets with ranges between 25 and 150 miles, currently under development.

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Israeli Security officials believe that these two systems will significantly change how Israel deals with the terror organizations and prompt them to counter other threats against Israeli soldiers and residents in southern Israel.

“We’re very pleased by the pace and manner of development,” said one high-ranking security official. “The air force is a full partner in the progress of Rafael’s development and in the various simulations done at the factory.”

Another high-ranking Israeli security official said, “We are limited in what we can say about the system, but you could say that the many rocket barrages fired at Israel… helped Rafael to test and accelerate processes that usually are tested by simulations in the lab. We realized that the system being planned meets the expectations and standards set by the Defense Ministry and the fact is that foreign elements have already expressed an interest in the system, which constitutes a breakthrough in this sphere.”

Brig. Gen. Danny Gold, who heads research and development for the IAF, hinted a few weeks ago the Iron Dome system was being developed at a fifth of the time and a tenth of the price of similar systems.

It is believed that the system will be put into place after a major test is carried out in the next few months, after which the system will gradually become operational.

Most recently, a number of sites were chosen near Gaza where the system will be stationed as part of the initial deployment in respond to the rocket threat. In the second stage the system will be stationed in northern Israel to intercept mortar shells and Katyusha rockets from Lebanon.

David Bedein can be reached at


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.