Kibbutz sues IDF over radiation from Iron Dome

Farmers sue after Army waited six years before telling them to avoid working their fields due to radiation from Iron Dome’s powerful radar.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

A kibbutz near the Gaza Strip is suing the IDF after farmers were told to avoid working in their fields due to the high radiation emitted from the radar of the system that shoots down rockets fired by terrorists in Gaza, Ynet reported Tuesday.

The farmers are furious because the Iron Dome anti-missile battery stationed in their fields has been there for the past six years, but they had continued to work the land until the Army recently told the kibbutz about the danger from the radar.

The communal farming community is demanding 4.5 million shekels ($1.3 million) in compensation from the Ministry of Defense for the loss of agricultural land. The kibbutz was not named so as to not reveal the exact location of the defense installation.

According to the lawsuit, in early 2012, the IDF installed an Iron Dome battery in the kibbutz fields without settling the issue and compensating the kibbutz for expropriating the land, which the farmers were unable to cultivate

The kibbutz claims that after the IDF took over about 10 dunams (2.5 acres) of agricultural land, they were promised compensation by the defense establishment for the damages caused – compensation that according to the lawsuit was never paid.

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The kibbutz’s farmers continued to work in the fields near the area where the sensitive systems were deployed, hoping that the economic issue would be resolved later.

However, the lawsuit revealed that only in September 2017, almost six years after the system was installed, were they told to not work near the Iron Dome due to very strong radiation that the system emits.

The kibbutz wants compensation not just from the area where the Iron Dome sits, but also for the fields surrounding the radar where it is no longer possible to cultivate.

The Ministry of Defense has not yet submitted a letter of defense, but in a joint statement issued Monday the ministry and the IDF said that the “lawsuit has not yet been received by the defense establishment. When it is received, it will be studied and answered, as is accepted, in court. “