Iron Dome, Israel’s rocket defense system, fundamentally altered the dynamic between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza. The system intercepted about 90 percent of the thousand or so missiles launched by Hamas. Israelis, for the most part, survived the onslaught, certainly in comparison to the casualty toll among Palestinians. But as the ceasefire negotiated on Wednesday takes hold, it’s important not to overstate the system’s role in taming the crisis: Iron Dome reduced tensions by preventing civilian deaths, but it didn’t thwart Hamas’s aims. It may have provided a window for negotiations, but the negotiators did all the work themselves.
Nonetheless, Iron Dome has been described in various media reports as the “break-out star” and the “game changer” in this conflict. Idan Yahya, a 22-year-old gunner with the Israeli Air Defense Wing, is being lionized as a Hollywood-style hero, with stories about how he grew up playing the video game Warcraft and now holds the title for striking down the most Hamas rockets.