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Israel's first line of defense, a missile defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, is labeled the Iron Dome. It was first deployed in 2011, and has since rebuffed and destroyed rockets from Hamas militants, Palestinian forces and Iranian drones and missiles.

The Iron Dome is land-based and built to keep the citizens of Israel safe from barrages of rockets deployed most often from the Gaza Strip by Iranian-backed terrorists, Hamas. The system is capable of tackling missiles with ranges between 2.5 miles and about 43 miles.

In April, the defense system – along with weaponry and intelligence from Israel's allies – repelled drones and missiles fired by Iran in retaliation for an Israeli airstrike that killed a top Iranian military commander.

ISRAEL SUCCESSFULLY TESTS SEA-BASED MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM

Israel’s shield uses radar to track an incoming threat, like a missile or artillery shell, and relays the data and target coordinates to a missile firing unit. Interceptor Tamir missiles are fired at the enemy’s projectile to eliminate the threat.

Iron Dome Israel

Israel, reeling from the deadliest attack on its territory in half a century, formally declared war on Hamas on Sunday after the Palestinian militant group launched a massive surprise assault from Gaza, leaving over 1,100 dead. (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

In the past, the Iron Dome has been 90% effective in intercepting thousands of rockets fired from Hamas terrorists, according to Israeli officials. The defense system was integral to Israel's defense during conflict with Gaza in 2012 and 2014. 

In December 2020, Israel's defense ministry reported that they tested sea-based aerial defense systems over a span of a few weeks and all tests were successfully intercepted by Israel's multi-tier defense systems – the Iron Dome, Arrow and David's Sling.

David's Sling, or "Magic Wand" is the secondary layer of protection and a complete air defense system also developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to combat ballistic missiles and medium-range rocket attacks.

ISRAEL OFFICIALLY UNVEILS DAVID'S SLING MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM

Rockets fire into the night - Iron Dome

Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system fires to intercept a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, near Sderot, Israel, Wednesday, May 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

The Arrow is the third layer of protection and an anti-missile defense system – the most advanced of its kind. It is used to combat long-range missile strikes. The U.S. has invested in the Iron Dome, David's Sling and the Arrow and has provided finances for the restocking of the defense systems.

In 2021, bipartisan House lawmakers doubled down on America's support for Israel following a deadly conflict with Hamas. The battle lasted 11 days in May 2021, and resulted in the deaths of 250 Palestinians and 10 Israelis.

Both Democrats and Republicans wrote to now retired Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in June 2021 urging the Pentagon to work with Congress to restock Israel's supply of interceptors for the Iron Dome.

A total of 55 lawmakers signed the letter in support.

The letter read, "We must ensure that the Iron Dome remains able to protect Israel without running the risk that its stockpile of interceptors becomes depleted. Israel must always have the resources it needs to defend itself from incoming rockets when it is targeted again."

Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system

Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system fires to intercept a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The United States began providing funding for the Iron Dome in 2011 and 55% of the system’s components are currently manufactured in the U.S., according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Israel is the unrivaled recipient of U.S. military assistance, totaling over $3 billion each year. For the Iron Dome alone, the U.S. volunteered $1.6 billion from 2011-2021.

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In June 2022, a U.S. company, JustAnswer, launched aid for Ukraine to build a modernized missile defense system, much like the Iron Dome, to prevent Russian rockets from striking civilians. The missile system "Sky Project" intends to create a mobile, all-weather air defense system designed to intercept and destroy rockets and artillery shells.

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