Iron Dome Will Be Tested in June

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Defense Ministry Director General Pinchas Buchris said initial testing of the Iron Dome rocket defense system will begin next month.

Speaking with regional council heads of areas within range of Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, Buchris said the Iron Dome system will intercept at least 92 percent of incoming Kassam rockets.

The $250 million project is slated to become operational by 2010, though if all goes well, the date could be moved up.

In an unusual decision, the rabbinate granted permission for the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to work on Shabbat (the Sabbath).

"Peoples' lives are at stake here," one Israeli defense official said. "Rafael does not usually work on Shabbat, but they received permission to work as much as needed to get the [Iron Dome] system operational as soon as possible," he said.

Meanwhile at the regional council heads' meeting, Ashkelon Mayor Roni Mahatzri asked what residents of southern Israeli cities should do in the interim.

"What are we supposed to do until 2010?" Mahatzri asked.

"When Scud missiles were fired at central Israel [during the Gulf War], the Patriot system was immediately erected to provide defense," the mayor's deputy, Levi Shafran, said.

"Here [in the south], the rocket fire has been going on for years, and you are only examining and checking," he said.

Sha'ar Regional Council Head Alon Schuster said, nonetheless, Monday's meeting was important to the area's residents.

"We are leaving this meeting with a feeling that they are really taking good care of us in a professional manner," he said.

Source: YNet news

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