Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which came to prominence in the 2012 conflict, affects this dynamic in important ways. Although there is intense debate over its effectiveness — critics argue that the system is knocking rockets to the ground without detonating them, and that it destroys fewer than half — Israel says that it has successfully intercepted 90% of those rockets that it engaged in this campaign. Even if this is exaggerated, Iron Dome’s ability to shield population centers and key infrastructure has two important effects. First, it buys time for Israel to continue airstrikes without facing popular impatience.
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