The rockets are smuggled via ship and tunnel from Iran, Libya, Sudan and Syria and, increasingly, manufactured from water pipes and household items in what a senior Israeli intelligence officer called Gaza’s “high-tech” sector — about 70 makeshift factories staffed by 250 men and overseen by a few dozen engineers and chemists.

And while these rockets rarely hit high-value targets and have not killed a single person — the vast majority are stopped by Israel’s Iron Dome systemor explode in open fields — the sheer number fired by militants into Israel since July 8 has shaken Israeli society, offering a sobering counterpunch to its superior firepower. The rockets have reached far into the north, threatening the commercial center in Tel Aviv and beyond.

“They judge their achievement not just by the number of casualties, but also by the harassment and the disruption to life they cause,” Uzi Rubin, a retired Israeli general and pre-eminent weapons expert, said of the militants. “A lucky hit can cause a lot of damage and casualties, and that could happen at any time.” […]