from the February 2008 issue

Israel unveils missile designed to intercept Hezbollah rockets

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Israel's arms development firm, unveiled a new missile system Tuesday designed to intercept mid to long-range rockets and missiles of the kind used by Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War.

The firm introduced the "Stunner" missile during a visit from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the Prime Minister's Office said. The Stunner will be incorporated in the new Magic Wand anti-missile system.

Magic Wand" is intended to intercept missiles with a range of 40-250 kilometers, like Hezbollah's Zilzal and Fajr missiles. The development, in conjunction with a Pentagon-backed American company, is expected to cost some NIS 1 billion.

"Magic Wand," together with the simultaneously developed Iron Dome anti-ballistic system, will complement the Arrow missile defense system, which intercepts long-range missiles. During Tuesday's visit to the Rafael headquarters, Olmert reviewed the development of various systems, in line with the cabinet policy to upgrade anti-missile protection, which was approved about a year ago.

When asked why Israel has more companies on the Nasdaq than any of the advanced countries of Europe, David Anthony, a venture capitalist with interests in many countries, said the "European countries are conservative societies and not the best places for innovation." He contrasted Israel with Europe. "Israelis think outside the box and have a high tolerance for risk," he said. "That's why they are so good at coming up with new technologies and having so many companies on the Nasdaq."

Israel will be 60 years old on May 8 of this year. Its survival depends, in part, on the continued vigor of a strong economy competing for investment and exposure on the Nasdaq and other world markets. Israel's will to survive helps drive high-tech developments needed for its defense in a hostile area. Israel's commitment to technology has been unwavering throughout its short history.

Albert Einstein had this observation: "Israel can win the difficult battle for survival only by developing painstakingly the intelligence and expert knowledge of her young people in technology."

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report February 2008

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