“As an ancient people that treasures life, we continue to march in the path of King David,” Netanyahu stated at a ceremony celebrating ‘David’s Sling,’  a state-of-the-art air defense system which is now operational. 

The Israeli Air Force’s (IAF) David’s Sling air defense system and battalion were announced as operational on Sunday, adding another crucial element to Israel’s air defense.

In a special ceremony held at the Hatzor air force base, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, GOC Air Force Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel, US Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Admiral James Syring and Air Defense Commander Brig.-Gen. Zvi Haimovitz all gathered for the celebratory launch.

Netanyahu highlighted the Israeli-US partnership, which enabled the development of the advanced system. “We face, both of us, increasingly sophisticated threats, but we have repeatedly demonstrated that together we can meet these challenges a lot better than any one of us could do  alone,” he stated.

“Whoever seeks to hit us – will be hit. Whoever threatens our existence – places himself in existential danger,” the Israeli leader warned.

“This approach has ancient sources,” he continued. “Not far from here is the Ela Valley, where David defeated Goliath with his sling. King David defended the People of Israel against its enemies 3,000 years ago. He did so with a combination of extraordinary daring and extraordinary ingenuity. We recognize the age-old adage, ‘Those who dare, win.’”

“As an ancient people that treasures life, we continue to march in the path of King David. David’s sword is in our hand, David’s Sling is in our skies and David’s shield is on our flag. We will join strength to spirit and we will ensure Israel’s victory,” Netanyahu said.

Liberman: ‘No Alternative to this System’

Liberman added that there is “no alternative to this system…Thanks to this system, we will be able to deal with our enemies, which we unfortunately have.”

Last month, the David’s Sling battalion underwent an operational preparedness and fitness inspection. In January, a series of tests that examined the advanced version of the system was completed successfully.

David’s Sling, known as the Magic Wand in Hebrew, is considered an innovative system and is meant to contend with accurate short and medium-range missiles, adding another layer of defense to Israel’s multi-layer anti-ballistic missile systems and supplementing the Arrow systems. It is primarily meant to defend against attacks from Hezbollah in Lebanon, including the Iranian-made Zilzal and Fatah 110.

The Iron Dome intercepts short-range targets, while the Arrow has the longest-range capabilities—its latest version can intercept long-range ballistic missiles outside the Earth’s atmosphere.

The David’s Sling system was developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in cooperation with the US’ Raytheon. In the future, it will also address threats such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel

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