(Photo courtesy of Rueters.)
Israel is Iron Man.Like the fictional, ingenious inventor Tony Stark (Iron Man’s doppelganger) and creator of his own suit of armor, it is the technological marvel of Iron Dome that has helped protect Israel. Writing in the Times of Israel recently David Horovitz said,“The fact that Israeli citizens have not been dying in large numbers in this conflict to date has nothing to do with Hamas, which is employing its very mightiest efforts to kill us, and which is highly skilled and experienced in the endeavor. We live, rather, because in partnership with our American allies we added Iron Dome, a remarkable new supplement to the alarm systems, safe rooms, fortified schools and other measures into which we have poured effort and resources over the years to defend our civilians from attack.”Having intercepted over 350 missiles so far, it was the innovative development team at Petah Tikva-based mPrest Systems, and the manufacturing team at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems that created the protective armor that guards the Jewish state.Of course Iron Man like practically every other super hero, was also created by Jews, with credit going to Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber) and his brother Larry Lieber along with illustrations by Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg.) Indeed as brainiacs go, Tony Stark was a boy genius who entered MIT at 15. IQ-wise, he rivals his fellow scientists Dr. Bruce Banner (Hulk) and Mr. Fantastic, both also created by Stan Lee.While most everyone is familiar with Iron Man due to Robert Downey, Jr.’s portrayal of him in (“Iron Man”, “Iron Man2” and Marvel’s The Avengers), you may not know that the character will turn 50 next year and as birthday gift to fans, Iron Man 3 is due to hit theaters, May 3, 2013.What you also may not realize is like Superman and Bruce Wayne he’s also an orphan. His parents were killed in a plane accident. Or, that like many other supers, he also has a weakness - his heart. In the early volumes, he suffered a serious chest injury when he was kidnapped (by Wong-Chu originally and later in the film version by terrorists) and shrapnel endangered his ticker. It had to be replaced.Lee gave him a broken heart and here the parallel continues because in a metaphorical sense, the modern state of Israel was born out of the heartache from millennia of hatred that culminated in the Holocaust.Yet, like Stark who became a millionaire industrialist, the tragic history did not stop Israel from becoming a leader in smarts, with more PHDs, startups, high-tech companies and patents per capita than any other nation.Supporters of Israel, like fans of Iron Man are amazed at Iron Dome’s ability to knock out the rockets sent by terrorists. Perhaps that is why, as Jpost’s Ben Hartman wrote recently,“…dozens of curious onlookers climbed up a hill outside Tel Aviv to gaze down at the battery on Monday, hoping against all hope to hear an air raid siren and see Iron Dome paint its contrails across the sky, leaving the remnants of a Fajr-5 rocket drifting to the ground.”Yet, unlike the movies, what’s happening in Israel is all too real. Hopefully and soon Israel will put an end to this genuine brand of villain.