The Soldiers Behind the Dome The Soldiers Behind the Dome On Friday night, a rocket was fired from the Sinai Peninsula towards the city of Eilat. The “Iron Dome” soldiers worked quickly and intercepted the rocket. “There is no ‘ideal time to intercept’, we are ready 24 hours a day, at any moment”

Naomi Tzoref

On Friday night, around 9:30, a red-alert siren was heard at an “Iron Dome” battery deployed to Eilat. “We had just finished our Shabbat meal at the Iron Dome battery”, says Major Tal Naaman, Commander of the battery. “We sat together, the soldiers and the commanders, morale was high, we were happy, we sang; a few minutes later, we heard the siren”.

At the Interceptions Management Center, we sat with Second Lieutenant Maayan Sivoni and First Sergeant Alon Sprung. Upon hearing the siren, they fully understood what they had to do: they quickly launched an interception missile towards the rocket and prevented a disaster. “Although the hour was late and the shift was almost over, the officer and the interceptor performed exceptionally well, and we are very proud of them. The event only underscores the necessity of skilled combat soldiers like these, who make up the Aerial Defense Division”, adds Major Naaman.

The combat soldiers and the interceptors who serve at the “Iron Dome” batteries have to be ready to make fateful decisions within a matter of a few seconds. When it comes to a city that is close to the border, such as Eilat, the speed with which decisions are made and the attention of the interceptors are critical. “There is no ‘ideal time to intercept’, we are ready 24 hours a day, at any moment”.

The soldiers of the Aerial Defense Division have to acquire the ability to switch from “on” to “off”: that is, from the routine to a state of full alert within a matter of a few seconds. This ability is reflected not only in the successful interceptions, but also in the ability to deploy the battery within a short period of time and to adapt to new territory almost instantaneously. “We got to Eilat a week ago, and since then, we managed to get into a situation in which someone threatened the security of the ‘Iron Dome’ battery. Even in this situation, just like Friday’s interception, we handled it with much professionalism”, adds the commander of the battery. “However, it’s important for us to mention that there isn’t 100% protection and therefore we have to obey the instructions of the Home Front Command. Our job is to protect the residents and to allow them to continuously live a normal life and that’s what we do”.