How Did Lag B’Omer Affect IDF Tactics During Op Shield & Arrow?

Illustrative. Lag B'Omer. (Photo: Ari Kuperstock); Palestinians inspect damage to their building following Israeli airstrikes on an apartment of an Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza City, Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

The opening airstrikes against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group in the Gaza Strip were launched on Lag B’Omer.

What makes Lag B’Omer different than all other days of the year? One major difference is that Israelis gather in open areas throughout the country to light bonfires.

That difference posed a problem in the case of PIJ retaliatory rocket launches against Israel. The protocol for the costly Iron Dome interceptions is that the missile defense system isn’t activated if a rocket is headed to an open unpopulated area.

But on Lag B’Omer, many otherwise unpopulated areas are filled with people. According to an Army Radio report, the IDF revised the Iron Dome protocol for the first day of the operation to intercept missiles headed for unpopulated areas.

Ultimately, the revised policy was never used since the PIJ’s initial retaliatory strikes only occurred 36 hours later. Baruch Hashem, Jews were able to celebrate Lag B’Omer rocket free.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)