While the 90s saw a time of relative peace, with the Iraq war and the escalate tensions with Iran, Israel is staying alert and preparing for any kind of assault. The Israeli Air Force just wrapped up the 17th test of its new missile defense system and is confident that it can now shoot down any ballistic nuclear missiles that Iran or others could shoot at it.
The Palmahim Base launched an Arrow interceptor at a Blue Sparrow Missile, fired from an F-15 fighter jet. The missile was designed to mimic an Iranian Shihab 3 missile, the kind of missile that Israel expects Iran to potentially use as a nuclear weapon delivery platform. The Blue Sparrow has a split warhead and advanced radar-evading capabilities. While the Shihab 3 ballistic missile currently lacks these capabilities, it is believed that Iran is working to develop them. The test was jointly conducted by the IAF and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
An integral part of the new missile defense system is its new Green Pine radar system. This highly accurate radar system was deployed to the Negev Desert in 2008.
Brig.-Gen. Daniel Milo, commander of the IAF's Air Defense Division said that the test's success, despite poor visibility, was a testament to the readiness of the country's missile defense program. He states, "The Arrow technology is always improving, and we cannot forget that the enemy is also advancing with its capabilities."
It is unclear how well the system will work against Iran's latest missile, though -- the Sajjil. The Sajjil is Iran's first solid fuel rocket. Solid fuel allows the rocket to have a much greater accuracy than the previous liquid designs. The missile has a range of 2,000 km. Iran also has a stockpile of several BM25 intercontinental missiles which it purchased four or more years ago from North Korea.
The Arrow is also exceptionally effective against the Syrian Scud D, which is capable of delivering traditional and nontraditional payloads to anywhere in Israel. Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the test "another achievement for Israel on its way to obtaining a multi-level missile defense system, starting with the Iron Dome to defend against short-range rockets, and to the Arrow."
The Israel missile defense system helps provide valuable test data to help the U.S. develop and improve its own missile shield. The U.S., like Israel, claims its missile defense shield to be active and ready to destroy any nuclear threat.
quote: Arab political parties The legal status of Arab political partiesAmendment 9 to the 'Basic Law: The Knesset and the Law of Political Parties', states that a political party "may not participate in the elections if there is in its goals or actions a denial of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, a denial of the democratic nature of the state, or incitement to racism." Although Arab parties have been repeatedly banned under this legislation, those bans have been overturned by the Supreme Court and the only party currently banned is the right-wing Jewish Kach party.An Israeli Central Elections Committee ruling which allowed the Progressive List for Peace to run for the Knesset in 1988 was challenged based on this amendment, but the committee's decision was upheld by the Israeli Supreme Court, which ruled that the PLP's platform calling for Israel to become "a state of all its citizens" does not violate the ideology of Israel as the State of the Jewish people, and thus section 7(a) does not apply.In December 2002, Azmi Bishara and his party, Balad, which calls for Israel to become "a state of all its citizens," were banned by the Israeli Central Elections Committee, for refusing to recognize Israel as a "Jewish democratic state" and making statements promoting armed struggle against it. The Supreme Court overruled the decision in January 2003. When, in December 2005, Bishara told an audience in Lebanon that Arab citizens "[...]are like all Arabs, only with Israeli citizenship forced upon them [...] Return Palestine to us and take your democracy with you. We Arabs are not interested in it," this was denial of the democratic nature of the state once more.In 2009, the Israeli Central Elections Committee banned two Arab parties from running in upcoming parliamentary elections. Arab MKs charged that the ban was motivated by anti-Arab racism while the CEC accused the Arab parties of incitement, supporting terrorist groups and refusing to recognize Israel's right to exist. The ban was later overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court.