Some commentators claim that the Iron Dome was never meant to defend Sderot and the border communities but that this was only a pretext used to serve other interests:
The decision to develop Iron Dome appears to have been, from the start, an effort to keep the Rafael scientists employed and compensate the company for not benefiting from the research and development funding for the Arrow system, which is being developed by Israel Aerospace Industries.If this is the case, the Iron Dome was a very costly occupational therapy: US$270m for the development and US$50m for each battery. Other sources come up wit NIS 50m for a battery, which equals roughly US$13.4m. It seems that dozens of batteries will be necessary to defend Sderot and the other communities bordering the Gaza Strip. Depending on the price of the batteries, the costs will sum up to at least US$300m or US$1bn, respectively. It is clear that Israel will not be able to invest such sums. However, there are also other constraints than just money: a defense offical said that there are currently only two batteries under construction. A far cry from the 20+ needed to protect the Gaza Strip area. Defense Minister Ehud Barak acknowledged this by saying on January 18:
"We can't sow the illusion that now that development has been successfully completed, tomorrow morning there already will be complete protection for the Gaza area or the north […] It will take years before we are equipped."Update: Defense Ministry is working on allocating the funding to manufacture seven Iron Dome missile defense batteries over the next two years, defense officials said on January 18.