The IDF is responsible for the State of Israel’s security. Together with other security agencies and with assistance from the defense industries, the military works day and night to safeguard Israel’s borders and residents. Not only does the IDF contend daily with a long list of weapons possessed by the country’s enemies on all fronts, it must also constantly remain current and develop innovative defenses against Israel’s enemies’ new and sophisticated means of attack.
In 1991, Israel was nearly helpless when attacked by long-range missiles launched upon the Israeli home front from Iraq; in the early 2000’s the threat of short-range missiles launched at citizens from South Lebanon and Gaza increased significantly. The security industry developed the Iron Dome system as part of the response to these threats. As soon as a rocket is launched, the system’s radar immediately identifies its anticipated landing point and transfers this information to the command and control system. The system is programmed to ignore rockets that will fall in open areas and handle only those that might cause damage to inhabited sites. A fast missile is launched at this type of rocket, intercepting and destroying it in midair. The system became operational in the IDF in March 2011, and one month later it successfully intercepted a rocket launched from the Gaza strip. Since then it has blocked hundreds of enemy rockets. The Iron Dome system, along with systems such as the Arrow and David’s Sling, has made Israel the first nation in the world that provides real protection for its citizens from missile threats. This has been achieved thanks to the professionalism of the soldiers who operate the IDF’s aerial defense array and are primed to react and destroy any aerial threat to the State of Israel within seconds.
Israel is a sophisticated country that stands at the forefront of global technology. Advanced and efficient computer systems are integrated in all areas of the administration and economy. The cyber field, which is the basis for it all, is comprised of communications, computer and control systems; the information stored therein; and the reciprocal relations among system users. Along with the huge benefits of these systems, also comes the large risk of enemies harming essential systems. These threats include penetration of the system in order to steal classified data and damaging work processes that are dependent on those information systems.
The IDF C4I & Cyber Defense Directorate, which was formed to deal with such threats, works in collaboration with other security entities to map the systems, identify possible weaknesses and develop defense processes and methods for neutralizing cyber attacks. It is an ever-changing sophisticated world and the men and women in this field must be highly innovative, creative and groundbreaking thinkers in order to keep ahead of the enemy. Israel derives not only defensive benefits from this field but also invaluable economic advantages, because many of those who work in this area while in the IDF go into the Israeli hi-tech industry once they finish their military service, contributing to the success of the field.
Iron Dome photos courtesy of the Ministry of Defence and the National Photo Collection of Israel