Two developers of the anti-missile system were among the three groups honored for technological achievements advancing Israel's security
The 2012 Israel Defense Prize was awarded to two developers of the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system and to developers of two other defense systems yesterday evening (Monday, September 3). Attendees of the award ceremony included President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, and the directors of the Mossad (Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations) and the Israel Security Agency (ISA, or Shin Bet).
"When we discovered the candidate projects, we were stunned," said Maj. Gen. (res.) Danny Yatom, head of the Prize's selection committee and former Director of the Mossad. "It's impossible to overstate the magnitude of the technological achievements and their contribution to the security of the state and all of its residents."
Of the three projects whose developers received the Israel Defense Prize, the Iron Dome was the only project whose identity was publicly announced. "This is an extremely large and complex project, including many technological breakthroughs," Maj. Gen. (res.) Yatom said to those involved in the development of Iron Dome, including Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Elta Systems, mPrest Systems, the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, and the IAF. "The project was concluded in an extremely short time and set a record for development time, and with unprecedentedly low costs."
"The [Iron Dome] system provides not only security and direct defense to the residents of the Gaza perimeter, but also shortens the duration of fighting, contributes to deterrence, and gives the political echelon the necessary flexibility in making decisions," said Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
In addition to Iron Dome, a second prize was awarded to the Prime Minister's Office and Israel Aerospace Industries for the development of technological and operational tools for a difficult and complex mission, "which required courage and unprecedented operational fitness and led to achievements that contributed crucially to Israel's security," said Maj. Gen. (res.) Yatom.
The third prize was presented to a crew of the Military Intelligence Directorate for the development and implementation of groundbreaking intelligence technology. "The operational use of this capability leads directly to far-reaching ethical achievements contributing to national security," said the selection committee.
President Shimon Peres also addressed the ceremony. "Israel can repel any threat, whether from near or from far," he said. "We knew serious threats [in the past], and we emerged from them with the upper hand, and to our enemies I recommend not to be confused about our obvious and hidden abilities, not in the past and not in the future."