Prime Minister Netanyahu ruled out the possibility of supplying Ukraine with the Iron Dome air defense system, fearing that its technology could fall into Iranian hands.
“I think it’s important to understand that we are concerned that there is a risk that Ukraine’s aid systems will fall into Iranian hands. They could be dissected and copied, leaving Israel in a position of confrontation with those who are not. Weapons developed by himself,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview published on June 29.
The Israeli Prime Minister affirmed that this issue is “not theoretical,” referring to the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah using many Iranian-made Western copy weapons.
“The reason Israel has recorded so few casualties, despite receiving more than 20,000 rockets of all kinds, is thanks to the success of the Iron Dome. If this system falls into Iranian hands, millions of Israelis will fall dangerous circle because of the loss of the protective shield,” he said.
Netanyahu said Israel provided Ukraine a rocket and drone warning system (UAV). “We provided them with a civil defense and warning system that prevented half of Ukraine’s population from having to go to a bunker every time a missile came,” he said.
The Israeli Prime Minister also rejected criticism from the Ukrainian embassy, which said that Tel Aviv was “choosing the path of close cooperation” with Moscow. “We are not neutral. Israel has shown sympathy and views with Ukraine, but we also have our own limits, concerns and interests,” he stressed.
The remarks came a week after two US senators, Lindsey Graham and Chris Van Hollen, said that Tel Aviv had prevented Washington from transferring two Iron Dome batteries in US service to the Ukrainian military.
Iron Dome is a short-range air defense system developed by Israeli defense industry corporations. The United States contributed $1.6 billion to the project between 2011 and 2021, with Congress approving an additional $1 billion in funding for the Iron Dome program last year.
Tel Aviv has the right to prevent Washington from selling the Iron Dome system to third parties and has repeatedly exercised this right because of concerns that sensitive technology will fall into the hands of Israeli opponents.
Iron Dome was first deployed by Israel in 2011. Israeli and American officials said that each Iron Dome battery is capable of intercepting 85% of targets. This number increased to 90% during the conflict in the Gaza Strip a year later.
A complete Iron Dome complex consists of 3-4 launchers, each equipped with 20 Tamir interceptors and a warning and firing radar, control and combat management system. Each Tamir bullet costs about $40,000-100,000. Much of Iron Dome’s operations are automated to shorten response times and reduce operator manpower requirements.