Yossi Melman, writing for Tablet, filed a bleak report following the latest round of fire between Israel and its Gazan neighbors:
After four days of rocket shelling and air raids—which began last Friday when Israeli forces assassinated the secretary general of the Popular Resistance Committee, Zuhair al-Qaissi— one million Israelis in the south of the country and a million and a half Palestinians in Gaza returned to “normal”: a state of constant tension and fear about when the violence will start up again.
Rocket attacks on civilian targets – houses, restaurants, school buses – have become an unfortunate fixture of life in southern Israel. These rockets have never been the most sophisticated of weapons, and Israel’s new Iron Dome missile defense system has gone a long way in reducing the danger, but the challenges of life under the constant threat of attack go far beyond the body count. Melman describes the economic implications:
One Grad rocket costs roughly $1,000. One intercepting Iron Dome missile costs $100,000. On average, Israel fired two Iron Dome missiles per Grad. Thus, intercepting 40 Grads worth $40,000 cost Israel $8 million. Plus, while the rockets were flying, some 200,000 Israeli students didn’t go to school, and hundreds of thousands of Israelis were confined to shelters and did not go to work.
And of course, dollar amounts don’t even begin to compare to the gravity of the simple, grim awareness that at any time a missile may just strike your living room or your children’s playground.