Glossary Term

Iron Dome

Israel’s Iron Dome is an anti-missile defense system in operation since 2011 that is designed to intercept and shoot down projectiles before they can inflict damage. As of 2021, Israel had 10 Iron Dome batteries based across the country.   The Iron Dome system has saved vast numbers of civilian lives by shooting down thousands of rockets fired from Gaza by terrorist organizations against Israel, many of which were intentionally targeted at civilian Israeli population centers.  Following the 2021 conflict with Hamas, Israeli military officials estimated that the Iron Dome had intercepted as many as 90% of all incoming rockets.   

The Iron Dome was developed in Israel, with the United States government providing billions of dollars in funding to support the system, including funding its deployment, use, and coproduction.

Under the 2016 bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on security assistance signed by the US and Israel, Washington committed to an annual level of $500 million in security assistance specifically for Israel’s missile defense programs.  These include the Iron Dome system, as well as the co-development of longer-range missile defense systems such as David’s Sling and Arrow-3.   

At the end of fighting between Israel and Hamas in May 2021, during which Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired over 4,000 rockets targeting Israelis, U.S. President Joe Biden stated that Israel’s prime minister “shared with me his appreciation for the Iron Dome system, which our nations developed together and which has saved the lives of countless Israeli citizens, both Arab and Jew.  I assured him of my full support to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome system to ensure its defenses and security in the future.”