Majority of new draftees hope to join Air Defense Command

Photo:Iron Dome mid-interception

The success of the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system increases interest among new draftees as unprecedented numbers choose to join the ranks of those protecting Israel’s skies

Date: 22/03/2012, 3:04 PM     Author: Yael Livnat

With outstanding technological capabilities and unprecedented achievements, the Air Defense Command became the most desired IDF (Zahal) unit among Israeli teens.

During the recent escalation the Iron Dome anti-missile defense batteries successfully intercepted 90% of the continuous rocket fire launched from Gaza at high populated regions in southern Israel, catching headlines and grabbing the interest of soon-to-be IDF (Zahal) soldiers.

In a conversation that Brig. Gen. Doron Gavish, commander of the Air Defense Command, held with the new draftees, he said that “the increased interest in the command stems from two main causes. The first cause is your brave decision to become combat soldiers and the second is our soldiers’ clear influence on the security of the State of Israel.”

Liran Master, a new member of the Air Defense Command, recounted to the IDF (Zahal) Website, “I chose to join the Air Defense Command after taking to a friend of mine. The activity of the Iron Dome batteries increased my motivation toward my enlistment; it was very exciting for me to see the success rate of its interceptions.”

Another draftee, Elad Nagar explained that “when they told me that I would join the Air Defense Command, I was extremely pleased. Thinking I might be stationed at an Iron Dome battery is extremely exciting.”

Col. Yoni Sayada-Marom, Air Defense School commander emphasized the significance of this month’s enlistment: “This is a draft that confirms the trend from the previous drafts. The previous draft took place before the Iron Dome batteries were deployed, and this draft takes place as David’s Sling defense system, used to defend against mid- to long-range missiles, is being deployed.”

He continued to explain that the motivation “stems from the recent operational activity and these teens’ willingness to partake in the successes.” He added that “another component is the technological capabilities the Command offers. The youth today come from a world of very advanced technology, and the Air Defense Command will allow them to make the most of their skills.”

Developed by “Elta Systems,” the Iron Dome defense systems operate day and night, in all weather conditions, and can intercept rockets with a range of less than 70 kilometers and mortars. It can also intercept low-flying aircraft. The first battery was deployed around a year ago in Be’er Sheva and its first operational interceptions occurred while it was still in a test phase. The Iron Dome is designed to only intercept rockets that are identified as heading for populated areas and strategic spots.