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700 rockets, 240 intercepts, 4 dead Israelis: Is the Iron Dome getting worse?

iron domeBy SAM SOKOL
TEL AVIV (JTA) — After the weekend’s fighting between Hamas and the Israeli army, some Israelis have raised questions about the strength of their country’s missile defenses.




Over the course of the weekend, Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched nearly 700 rockets from Gaza at Israel, killing four people and injuring more than 200. According to Haaretz, of the 690 rockets launched from Gaza, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 240.
The number of unintercepted rockets and Israeli fatalities sparked inquiry about the effectiveness of Iron Dome, and whether Hamas and Islamic Jihad have found a way to thwart the system.
Hamas was quick to declare that it had achieved victory, overwhelming Israeli defenses with concentrated barrages of projectiles.
“The Qassam Brigades, thanks to God, succeeded in overcoming the so-called Iron Dome by adopting the tactic of firing dozens of missiles in one single burst,” a spokesman for Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades said in a social media post quoted by The Times of Israel. “The high intensity of fire and the great destructive ability of the missiles that were introduced by the Qassam [Brigades] … succeeded in causing great losses and destruction to the enemy.”

The number of Israeli civilians killed in the two-day conflict was only one fewer than during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, a struggle of nearly two months, when Palestinian factions lobbed more than 4,500 projectiles at Israeli cities.
At the time, the Israel Defense Forces said that its Iron Dome batteries had managed to knock down 90 percent of the rockets within their coverage zones — a rate of success disputed by some critics. The IDF claimed a similar level of success this time, too, telling reporters that it had achieved an 86 percent kill rate and that only 35 projectiles landed in populated areas.
However, speaking with The Jerusalem Post, Maj. Gen. Yaakov Amidror, a former national security adviser and retired head of the Military Intelligence’s Research Department, said Iron Dome had gaps in its coverage, especially when it came to short-range rockets landing within a few kilometers of the border.
“We don’t have enough time to intercept it,” he said.
Amidor also said that in the case of a car hit by an anti-tank missile near Kibbutz Yad Mordechai on Sunday, killing its Israeli driver, Iron Dome wouldn’t have helped.
“From the point of view of the system, this was an open area without people. We don’t intercept such rockets,” he said.

A former deputy military intelligence chief, Brig. Gen. Meir Elran, said that while “Iron Dome has proven to be an effective means of saving lives, which also improves the flexibility of decision makers in Israel,” it is clear that the system as currently constituted cannot provide Israel with sufficient protection in the event of a wider conflict.
In an article published by the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv several weeks before the outbreak of hostilities, Elran warned that “the number of available batteries (some operated by reservists) cannot suffice as a response to the threat, even one characterized by sporadic fire against the Israeli depth. In a full-scale conflict the [Iron Dome] system would be required to cover primarily military installations and vital national infrastructures,” which would mean that there would be gaps in the system’s coverage of residential areas.
“During a broad and protracted conflict,” Elran wrote, there is a “danger of multiple, simultaneous events that stretch the capacity of response systems.”

The IDF has been beefing up its systems. Globes reported that the army has been working on improvements to Iron Dome intended to deal with just the kinds of barrages used over the weekend, as well as against the kinds of short-range projectiles used to target communities along the Gaza border. In mid-April, the IDF concluded an air defense exercise combining its Iron Dome and Patriot missile batteries.
Overall, the presence of Iron Dome has allowed Israel additional flexibility in choosing when it wants to escalate conflicts. The system reduces the need to send infantry troops into Gaza to stop missile fire against population centers.
Despite this weekend’s death toll, Iron Dome acquitted itself well, Times of Israel military correspondent Judah Ari Gross told JTA. The higher than usual level of civilian casualties can be attributed to a combination of bad luck, the intensity of the barrages and Hamas’ use of heavier rockets with larger payloads. Such projectiles can intensify the damage when they do get through.
“In one barrage, they fired 117 rockets toward Ashdod. One got through. Is that overwhelming the system?” he asked. “You can say, yes, it is — especially as that one killed an Israeli civilian — or no, that’s a 99.1 percent success rate.”
The missile that did get through in Ashdod killed Pinchas Menachem Prezuazman, a 21-year old American citizen who was hit while running for cover. Even with a high level of interceptions, with enough metal flying, some are bound to get through, Gross said, adding that it was unclear exactly how the IDF had calculated its claimed 86 percent interception rate.

Uzi Rubin, one of the pioneers of Israel’s earliest attempts at missile defense, told JTA that based on the publicly available data, it appears that the Palestinians “tried to tax the system as much as they could, but the system as a whole held well.”
“Eighty-six percent is not much less than the 90 percent during [Operation Protective Edge], and remember this time most of the fire was concentrated on the area around Gaza, which is short range and harder to defend,” he said.
Israel doesn;t just rely on the Iron Dome to keep its citizens safe. Phone apps warn of incoming missiles, and bomb shelters and “safe rooms” are ubiquitous, if not always well-maintained. In his article Elran suggests that “existing plans for improving public and private shelters should be implemented in other parts of Israel.”
Elran also urged the Home Front Command and municipal leaders to get on the same page when it comes to closing schools and opening public shelters, “issues that continue to be disputed.”
Residents of southern Israel had differing opinions as to the effectiveness of the IDF’s missile defenses.
Raymond Reijnen, a Dutch immigrant whose house in Kibbutz Nahal Oz was hit by a rocket as he hid in its bomb shelter with his wife and children on Saturday, said Iron Dome’s effectiveness has been exaggerated.
“Everybody thinks [it’s] great, but every mortar they fired at the kibbutz landed and didn’t got intercepted,” he said. “Iron Dome is a bandage to keep the people feeling safe and protected. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great system, but its capabilities are highly overestimated.”

On the other hand, Adele Raemer, a resident of Kibbutz Nirim on the Gaza border, said she did feel safer than in previous escalations.
“We’ve only had Iron Dome for about a year,” she said. “As a resident, I do feel more protected now that we have [it].”
Asked for comment, the IDF said that it was unable to provide information on Iron Dome’s performance or how it calculates interception rates because it was short-staffed due to Tuesday evening’s Yom Hazikaron, or Memorial Day, commemorations.

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New website for Israelis interested in moving to Canada

By BERNIE BELLAN (May 21, 2024) A new website, titled “Orvrim to Canada” ( has been receiving hundreds of thousands of visits, according to Michal Harel, operator of the website.
In an email sent to Michal explained the reasons for her having started the website:
“In response to the October 7th events, a group of friends and I, all Israeli-Canadian immigrants, came together to launch a new website supporting Israelis relocating to Canada. “Our website,, offers a comprehensive platform featuring:

  • Step-by-step guides for starting the immigration process
  • Settlement support and guidance
  • Community connections and networking opportunities
  • Business relocation assistance and expert advice
  • Personal blog sharing immigrants’ experiences and insights

“With over 200,000 visitors and media coverage from prominent Israeli TV channels and newspapers, our website has already made a significant impact in many lives.”
A quick look at the website shows that it contains a wealth of information, almost all in Hebrew, but with an English version that gives an overview of what the website is all about.
The English version also contains a link to a Jerusalem Post story, published this past February, titled “Tired of war? Canada grants multi-year visas to Israelis” ( That story not only explains the requirements involved for anyone interested in moving to Canada from Israel, it gives a detailed breakdown of the costs one should expect to encounter.

(Updated May 28)

We contacted Ms. Harel to ask whether she’s aware whether there has been an increase in the number of Israelis deciding to emigrate from Israel since October 7. (We want to make clear that we’re not advocating for Israelis to emigrate; we’re simply wanting to learn more about emigration figures – and whether there has been a change in the number of Israelis wanting to leave the country.)
Ms. Harel referred us to a website titled “Globes”:
The website is in Hebrew, but we were able to translate it into English. There is a graph on the website showing both numbers of immigrants to Israel and emigrants.
The graph shows a fairly steady rate of emigration from 2015-2022, hovering in the 40,000 range, then in 2023 there’s a sudden increase in the number of emigrants to 60,000.
According to the website, the increase in emigrants is due more to a change in the methodology that Israel has been using to count immigrants and emigrants than it is to any sudden upsurge in emigration. (Apparently individuals who had formerly been living in Israel but who may have returned to Israel just once a year were being counted as having immigrated back to Israel. Now that they are no longer being counted as immigrants and instead are being treated as emigrants, the numbers have shifted radically.)
Yet, the website adds this warning: “The figures do not take into account the effects of the war, since it is still not possible to identify those who chose to emigrate following it. It is also difficult to estimate what Yalad Yom will produce – on the one hand, anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews and Israelis around the world reminds everyone where the Jewish home is. On the other hand, the bitter truth we discovered in October is that it was precisely in Israel, the safe fortress of the Jewish people, that a massacre took place reminding us of the horrors of the Holocaust. And if that’s not enough, the explosive social atmosphere and the difference in the state budget deficit, which will inevitably lead to a heavy burden of taxes and a reduction in public services, may convince Zionist Israelis that they don’t belong here.”
Thus, as much as many of us would be disappointed to learn that there is now an upsurge in Israelis wanting to move out of the country, once reliable figures begin to be produced for 2024, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that is the case – which helps to explain the tremendous popularity of Ms. Harel’s website.

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Message from a Palestinian in Gaza to protesters: “You’re hurting the Palestinian cause”

Protesters at McGill University

A very brave Palestinian who was willing to put his name to paper and write an article for Newsweek Magazine has exposed the utter hypocrisy of all those students – and others, who have been setting up encampments across the U.S. – and now Canada, too.

You can read the article at

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The Most Expensive Israeli Soccer Transfers

Eran Zahavi

Even if Israel isn’t known as a world soccer power, it has produced plenty of talented players who have made a living in top European leagues. On more than one occasion, an Israeli international has commanded a rather large transfer fee. But who are the most expensive players in Israel’s history? The answer could be a little surprising. We took a look back to find the most expensive Israeli soccer transfers of all time.

Tai Baribo

In 2023, Baribo made the move to MLS, signing with the Philadelphia Union. The reported fee was around $1.5 million, which is one of the highest transfer fees the Union has ever paid for a player.

Omer Atzili

Throughout his career, Atzili has played for a variety of clubs, including stops in Spain and Greece. In 2023, he joined Al Ain in the UAE for a transfer fee of $2.1 million.

Maor Buzaglo

Now retired, Buzaglo was briefly the holder of the richest transfer deal for an Israeli player. After a couple of successful seasons on loan, Maccabi Tel Aviv paid $2.7 million to rival Maccabi Haifa for Buzaglo in 2008.

Dia Saba

Saba made history in 2020 when he joined Al-Nasr, making him the first Israeli player to play for a club in the UAE. At the time, it was a big deal for relations between the two countries. Al-Nasr also paid an impressive $2.9 million transfer fee for the midfielder.

Tal Ben Haim

On multiple occasions, Ben Haim has been sold for more than $1 million. First, there was his move from Hapoel Tel Aviv to Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2023 for close to $1.2 million. A few years later, Sparta Prague came calling for him, spending $3.1 million as a transfer fee for the winger.

Itay Shechter

During the prime of his career, Shechter was the type of player who warranted a seven-figure transfer fee. German club Kaiserslautern paid a little over $2.6 million in 2011 to bring Shechter to the Bundesliga from Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Daniel Peretz

When Peretz was sold to Bayern Munich, it wasn’t the most expensive deal involving an Israeli player, although it was arguably the most important. He became the first Israeli Jew to play at Bayern, which is one of the biggest clubs in the world. The transfer fee for Peretz paid by Bayern Munich to Maccabi Tel Aviv was around $5.4 million.

Oscar Gloukh

Gloukh is one of the best young Israeli players right now. He already has three international goals in a dozen appearances to his name. Somehow, Gloukh is already one of the most expensive players in Israel’s history. After coming up with Maccabi Tel Aviv, he moved to Austrian giant Red Bull Salzburg in 2023 for a transfer fee of close to $7.5 million. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him top that number one day.

Liel Abada

Abada has been a part of two huge transfer deals in his young career. In 2021, Scottish club Celtic paid $4.8 million to acquire him from Maccabi Petah Tikva. However, that number was topped in 2024 when Charlotte FC of MLS paid a fee of $8 million for Abada.

With Charlotte FC, Abada competes in North America’s top league, facing teams from both Mexico and Canada. Throughout North America, sports betting has taken off in recent years. That includes betting in Canada, where there is a large collection of trusted sports betting platforms.

Eran Zahavi

To date, Zahavi holds the record for the most expensive transfer fee paid for an Israeli player. It’s fitting for Israel’s former captain and all-time leading scorer. In 2016, Chinese club Guangzhou City paid $12.5 million to get Zahavi from Maccabi Tel Aviv. That record was nearly broken later that year when another Chinese club offered $20 million for Zahavi, who turned it down and stayed with Guangzhou City.

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