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21 Jul, 2020 14:25

Israeli farmers sue the military over its Iron Dome air defense system, alleging ‘radiation exposure’ and a ‘land grab’

Israeli farmers sue the military over its Iron Dome air defense system, alleging ‘radiation exposure’ and a ‘land grab’

The Iron Dome intended to protect Israel from Hamas missiles launched sporadically from the Gaza Strip has led to a lawsuit by farmers, who say they’ve suffered from its radiation and from ‘occupation’ of their agricultural lands.

The Iron Dome anti-missile system was set up near a collective farm, or kibbutz, in 2012. The exact location of the farm somewhere in the Negev desert has not been revealed. 

Now people living in the kibbutz are demanding monetary compensation from IDF for exposure to “very strong” radiation from the anti-missile radars.

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The IDF informed the local residents about hazards only six years after setting the battery up. It warned the farmers not to approach the fields near the area. Until then, the farmers say, they’d worked on their fields unaware of any risk.

The defendant only recently remembered to update the kibbutz about the very strong radiation the system emits, and that it is therefore strictly forbidden to engage in any agriculture work in the surrounding area,” the lawsuit states.

The residents of the kibbutz are seeking compensation of NIS4.5 million (over $1,3 million) for damage to their health as well as for alleged disruption of the agricultural systems in the area of 2.5 acres occupied by the Iron Dome unit.

For comparison, one Iron Dome unit costs around $100 million and the IDF currently operates ten of them, with five more planned. 

Since Iron Dome was employed by the IDF in 2011, it has intercepted over 1,500 targets.

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