Following yesterday’s rocket strike that resulted in most foreign airlines cancelling flights to Ben Gurion International Airport, the Israeli government says they let the rocket through without intercepting it because they could see it wasn’t going to hit the airport.
The Jerusalem Post reported:
Similarly to an incident last week, when a large chunk of shrapnel crashed through the roof a house in the Tel Aviv area, this strike was also in a run-down neighborhood of dilapidated houses.
It would appear that for low-income Israelis, their government doesn’t believe it’s worth the expense of firing Iron Dome missiles that may themselves be worth more than the houses likely to be destroyed. The government appears to have as little regard for the occupants of those houses.
“We knew about that rocket,” said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev. “We were tracking it for about three minutes, our Air Force. We could have taken it down, but because we saw that it wasn’t going to hit inside the airport, we let it through.”
In an interview on CNN, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had just flown to Israel on El Al, said: “If you don’t feel safe here, I don’t know where you would feel safe.”
He also said: “If you have a standard [like the FAA is applying to Ben Gurion] you would close every airport in the United States. You’d close down every airline.”
Yehud, where the Hamas rocket struck yesterday, is on the north side of the airport. That means that during its descent, the rocket almost certainly passed within hundreds of feet of aircraft touching down, taking off, taxiing on the runway, or at their departure gates.
What Bloomberg is calling an “overreaction” by the FAA would by most people’s standards be a prudent and necessary response to what was in fact a very close call.
If what Mark Regev said is true — that the rocket was being tracked — then however effective Iron Dome might be when deployed, the judgement of its operators seems to be severely impaired.
Meanwhile, when Bloomberg claims that Israel is the safest country in the world, how does that square with the repeated claims that Israelis are living in an intolerable situation?
It would appear that what really worries Israel more than Hamas is a hit to the economy and a dip in tourism.
Everybody seems comfortable, everybody thinks they are well protected by a army and an air force that knows how to fight and is out there trying to protect them. And when they walk down the streets and they send their kids to school and they go to the parks, when they get to a concert, they feel safe.
Who cares about the rockets? Just don’t shut down the airport.