Israel fears Iron Dome technology could land in Russian or Iranian hands

Israel is standing firm on missile defence system following Ukraine request


A picture taken on August 5, 2022, shows Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza City in retaliation to earlier Israeli airstrikes, and Israeli Iron Dome system missiles intercepting them. - A senior militant from Islamic Jihad was killed in an Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip today, prompting the militant group to warn Israel has "started a war". A child was among those killed in the strikes, the enclave's health ministry said, while Israel's military estimated 15 were dead. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP) (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel is refusing President Volodymyr Zelensky's call for Iron Dome missile defences over fears top secret technology could end up in the hands of Russia or Iran, a leading Israeli national security figure has told the JC.

Dr Uzi Rabin, who founded the Jewish state’s Missile Defense Organization and served on its National Security Council, said Jerusalem is “concerned” about Iranian kamikaze drones following their use in Ukraine, but has the technology to take them on.

On Monday, President Zelensky called for the Israeli government to supply his country with air defence systems.

"Isn't it time for your state to choose who you are with as well?" he asked in a video address to a conference organised by Ha’aretz. 

"Is it with the democratic world, which is fighting side by side against the existential threat to its existence? Or with those who turn a blind eye to Russian terror, even when the cost of continued terror is the complete destruction of global security?”

Military cooperation between Russia and Iran would not have happened if Israel had been more willing to provide aid to Ukraine, he emphasised.

“This alliance of theirs would simply not have happened if your politicians had made only one decision at the time — the decision we asked for.”

President Zelensky’s demand follows a wave of attacks across Ukraine by Iranian-produced Shahed-136 drones. 

Israel has maintained a strict policy of not providing weapons to Ukraine since Putin ordered an invasion in February. 

“Unfortunately, we do not have our own ‘Iron Dome’,” President Zelensky said.

"We still do not have a modern and effective air defense and missile defense system that could secure our skies. In eight months of full-scale war, Russia has used almost 4,500 missiles against us. 

“And their stock of missiles is dwindling. This is why Russia went looking for affordable weapons in other countries to continue terror. It found them in Iran.”

Dr Rubin said the Shahed-136 was being used by Russia because it is “a cheap replacement for the very expensive cruise missile”.

“It’s a very simple machine for something that you could, basically you could make it in your garage,” he added. 

“They make them like sausages. The Russians use them because they have a long range, they have sufficient range to reach even Western Ukraine, and they are accurate.”

After unmanned drones were used to attack Saudi Arabian oil facilities in 2019, he added, "everybody sat back including our military and we started being concerned."

Israel is capable of dealing with the Shahed-136 if it is used by Iran-backed proxy groups such as Hamas or Hezbollah, however.

“If the Ukrainians can shoot them down, we can shoot them down,” Dr Rubin said. 

“Iron Dome is now upgraded and proven to shoot down low flying, low and slow, UAVs. Both tested and in real life; in Operation Guardian of the Walls Iron Dome shot down all that Hamas launched against Israel.”

Israel is unlikely to fulfil President Zelensky’s call for Iron Dome technology, though, because its own need for missile defences are too high, he added.

“We are not like the United States and the UK or Germany, we are at a state of war. We are a country at war right now. 

“We have a stockpile of Iron Dome, we need them. We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow…

“If we take Iron Dome and ship them to Ukraine it doesn’t take account of our own security.”

Another major concern is that top secret Israeli technology could fall into the hands of Russia or Iran.

Dr Rubin told the JC:“A system that falls in their hands is one thing, but if they get hold of the control centre where the radar, which is very sophisticated, is, this is a problem.

“If they overrun an Iron Dome battery and take physical possession of the real secrets in the command and control and radar this will be quite a blow to us because then they can devise ways on how to avoid it.”

Following the Russian drone campaign, Britain last week sanctioned Shahed Aviation Industries, who produce the autonomous weapon, and several senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps figures.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “Iran’s support for Putin’s brutal and illegal war against Ukraine is deplorable. 

“Today we are sanctioning those who have supplied the drones used by Russia to target Ukrainian civilians. This is clear evidence of Iran’s destabilising role in global security.”

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