David Horovitz describes how Iron Dome has protected Israel from rockets while simultaneously creating political complications.
Successive days of rocket attacks on Tel Aviv and efforts to reach Jerusalem? Well, that's worrying for sure. Those alarms are terrifying, no question. Plenty of Israelis from the center will now join the traumatized ranks of the Kassam-worn south. But injuries and death on the scale so gleefully contemplated by Hamas? Sorry. No, actually. We brought protection. We've got Iron Dome.
This being the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however, even in Israel's defensive victory, even in its staggering success in keeping its people physically safe, lies the danger of defeat.
When Israel's short-sighted critics insistently refuse to look beyond the numerical asymmetry, the very effectiveness of Iron Dome becomes the latest weapon with which to attack Israel for its purported aggression. All those Gazans are suffering terribly, dozens have been killed, yet hardly any Israelis are dying? That can't be right. How can the Israelis claim to be the victims of unprovoked and indiscriminate aggression? They're still alive.
Here's the problem: it's easy for the media to report on suffering, because very few people deserve to suffer. The audience instinctively knows how to line up its sympathies and the journalists don't have to work very hard to explain anything. It would be a lot more work for journalists to explain why the audience should side against the people who are most immediately, most visibly suffering.
The success of Iron Dome can be explained in one story. Each Hamas rocket that doesn't land and kill anyone doesn't get its own treatment because the potential victims are vague and faceless. When an actual Palestinian is killed the victim is specific and has a face, and the tragedy of the suffering wrenches the heart and draws viewers.
Our world is perverse in that we glorify people who suffer without looking into the cause of their suffering. A person who suffers for doing wrong deserves our pity, but should also stand as a warning to others and not simply be excused out of sympathy. In reality the suffering of the Palestinians is caused not by Israel, but by Hamas.
And Palestinians in Gaza are dying in growing numbers because they are either directly involved in trying to kill us or -- to our genuine sorrow and Hamas's cynical delight -- they had the misfortune to be sleeping, walking, talking, studying or praying very close to a key Hamas terror chief, missile launch site, ammunition store or other element of the sprawling Hamas kill-the-Jews infrastructure.
To put it succinctly, Hamas is doing its best to kill any and all of us in Israel, while cynically seeking to protect itself from attack by emplacing its offensive capacity among Gaza's often unwitting civilians. And Israel is doing its best to prevent its citizens being killed, while trying to thwart the attacks without harming Gaza's civilians. There's the relevant asymmetry.