Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Bombs Bursting in Air

A lot people don’t know this, but I am actually somewhat of an expert on things that explode. I used to sing along about them in America just before the start of baseball games. For example, rockets have a distinctive “red glare.”

I usually do not write about important political issues because I am not sufficiently non-expert. However, many Loyal Readers have been posting comments about the missile attacks. I understand this as an implied accidentally asked question, and I assume they want to know what the internet’s foremost non-expert on investing thinks about operation Protective Edge.


I know what the world media is thinking about operation Protective Edge because I listen to podcasts of NBC Nightly News. The main concern is that Israel will use disproportionate force to stop the rocket attacks. There is also a lot of focus on Iron Dome, which is directly responsible for the disproportionate amount of civilian causalities in this conflict.

I am big fan of Iron Dome. It was built by clever Israelis and paid for by tax paying Americans. In others words, I pretty much created it by proxy.

However, this is a serious blog in which we discuss serious issues. There is an extraordinary level of disproportion with Iron Dome that needs to be addressed.

Missile Investments

There is no price that we will not be willing to pay for safety. Or, more accurately, there is. It is $50,000, which is the cost for each Iron Dome intercept missile

The problem is that this is in great disproportion to the cost of the missiles that Iron Dome is intercepting. I mean crazy disproportion. It’s like when one of your kids uses up all of your remaining Bounty paper towels just to dry their hands.
Well, maybe it is not that disproportionate. I really don’t know how much Hamas is paying for their missiles. They are not reporting the financials on their Twitter feed. I don’t know for sure, but my guess is that this is a violation of the Geneva Convention’s financial reporting requirements.

In any case, I think we can make some simplifying assumptions because the rockets are based on Chinese designs. From my experience, this means that they would cost roughly $0.99, plus some amount more for smuggling charges.

Leveling the Playing Field

Clearly, this level of disproportion in missile costs is entirely unacceptable and we need to take steps to correct it.

The most obvious solution would be to tax the rockets that Hamas sends to Israel. This would be a clever solution, since most of the revenue from taxes is used to pay for defense systems. However, I am a free market capitalist who believes that you should not raise taxes to solve a problem unless there is no alternative.

Lowering the Cost of Iron Dome

Perhaps the best way to solve the disproportion would be to lower the cost of Iron Dome. I can think of at least three ways this should be possible.

1. Comparison Shopping. It seems to me that $50,000 is really expensive for just an intercept missile. Are we paying retail? I think between all of my contacts on Facebook and LinkedIn, I should know a guy that could help us get it cheaper. If that doesn’t work, I think we can ask our American friends to lend us some of their Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons. If we get enough, we should be able to use them to get 20% off each missile.

2. Hybrid Missiles. We could use an electric engine in combination with rocket fuel to power the missiles. The only concern would be that this would actually raise the cost. If so, it wouldn’t be a good solution to the disproportion problem, but we could do it anyway because we love trees.

3. Ukraine. We can use our clean and safe Ukrainian nuclear reactors to power the intercept missiles. I would even be willing to lend you the parts from my water heater. Or, on second thought: would this just make them even more disproportionate?

These ideas seem very promising to me and are probably all that we need. However, on the off chance that they do not lower the Iron Dome costs, it would also be worthwhile thinking about how we can offset the costs by generating revenue.

The Iron Dome Franchise

This past Shabbat, my children and their cousins spontaneously began playing “Iron Dome.” The way it worked is that the kids created paper airplanes which they shot at the adults. In turn, the adults used an intercept mechanism (such as their hands) to thwart the airplanes.

In general, the airplanes did not hit their targets. Upon occasion when they did reach their target, the intercept mechanisms were very good at preventing any serious damage. Actual direct hits were very rare (Bubby: I hope your ear is feeling better), but when they did occur, the children were extraordinarily exuberant in their victory. I suppose the adults could have prevented more attacks by taking out the airplane maker, but we felt we couldn’t do this because he is just a child.

In other words, the game was very much like real life.

I made Aliyah by Accident, and for me this game was pretty much one of my greatest aliyah moments. Next time I am in America and see my friends’ children playing “Cowboys and Indians,” I intend to point out just exactly how much this exemplifies their extreme state of exile.

In any case, it occurs to me that Iron Dome would make an excellent video game. We could even have a multi-player mode so that you can actually play directly with Hamas.

I think this idea is so good that I am even willing to donate the following original artwork that we could use to advertise it. It comes from my son and accurately depicts an IDF formation around Gaza poised to protect us from Hamas missiles. If you look closely, you can even see Israel’s famous, “King Sea.”

Operation Protective Edge

If the game works out, we could expand the franchise into movies and television. We will know that we really made it big when the action figures hit the shelves. 


  1. you need to look at both sides of the story!


  2. The video game exists.


  4. My families home was hit this week.

    ‏@ahmedmoor ·

  5. Stop the bombing, it is killing our investments!

  6. Donny - are you in a unit Gaza right now? You have been quiet.

    1. Oh no, certainly not. I would definitely heed the IDF's warnings to evacuate. As always, I am spending my time carefully watching the live stream of Tel Aviv Stock Exchange tickers.

  7. What unit are you in? Army? Air Force?

  8. Interesting new local market opening up. Recommendations on this opportunity?

  9. are you not in a reserve unit?

    1. Nope. Just a regular civilian.

    2. why are you not in a reserve yet like all other Israelis?

    3. Judging by the number of people in the protected room right now at work, I think it is far, far from "all".

  10. you are youngster, why not serve your duty?

    1. Unfortunately, I'm not that young: