The thousands of Palestinian rockets fired at southern Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip over the years would have caused an average of seven times more casualties had Israel not developed a set of effective, life-saving civil defenses, a new study has found.

The study’s authors, Prof. Edward H. Kaplan, a specialist in engineering and public health from the Yale School of Management, and his former student Lian Zucker, began the research after encountering several instances in which international media dismissed the threat of Gazan rockets.

“Many critics of Israel point out that while there have been thousands of Kassams fired into Israel, the resulting number of casualties is very small,” Kaplan told The Jerusalem Post this week. “There has been a concerted attempt by many to portray Kassam rockets as essentially harmless, symbolic weapons.