Idan Yahya, 22, an Iron Dome “gunner” in the Active Air Defense Wing 167, currently holds the record for the number of rockets intercepted: eight.
People in the army describe him variously as a geek and an ace. But the geek who grew up playing Warcraft is now a highly prized soldier on the cutting edge of real war craft. He’s the Israeli army’s top rocket interceptor.
The Iron Dome is a mobile anti-rocket interception system that Israel moves around the country to shoot down the rockets fired at its civilian population centers by armed groups in Gaza and southern Lebanon. Its radar picks up launches and fires interceptor missiles at them if they’re calculated to be heading towards populated centers. The system has become increasingly important as Hamas, Hezbollah and other groups amass surface-to-surface missiles to hit the Israeli home front with, thus bypassing the Israel Defense Force’s overwhelming advantage of concentrated firepower and fighter aircraft. Should Israel attack Iran’s nuclear installations, the expected rocket reprisals from the armed groups on its borders will keep Iron Dome very, very busy.