Dozens of Home Front Command soldiers swarmed around the wreckage in Holon on
Tuesday, as bulldozers shifted debris and the sounds of shovels, drills and
orders filled the air.
It was only a drill, but the scenario being
simulated – a direct missile strike on a civilian neighborhood in central Israel
– seemed more pertinent than ever, weeks after the recent conflict with Hamas
and the repeated rocket fire on greater Tel Aviv.
The drill marked the
final stage of a course to qualify soon-to-be commanders of battalions and
companies, the future of the IDF Home Front Command’s Central
As the threat to the home front from enemy rockets and missiles
grows, the Home Front Command grows with it, and a new battalion is being formed
alongside the three existing ones, made up of soldiers preforming their
mandatory military service.
“We’re in the midst of the final stage of our
course,” said Maj. Sharon Maoz, a battalion commander. “Tomorrow, we will drill
an unconventional missile attack.”
Maoz, who served in the IDF Armored
Corps for many years before joining the Home Front Command, said that “the
adrenaline from search and rescue missions is no less than that which comes from
storming terrorists in southern Lebanon. We’re managing the missions as a battle
in every way. The future trend will see a growth in the Home Front
He added, “I feel like the real work is going to be
here. Many of us transferred from other combat units, and we have no
inferiority complex at the Home Front Command.”
A mobile command and
control center had been erected near the wreckage, and a board displayed numbers
of dead and wounded, and the number of projected missing people in the rubble,
which, in the drill, represented the remains of a medical clinic, a community
center and a museum.
Col. Ramtin Sedty, commander of the training course,
explained that the Home Front Command had three ways to approach a disaster
“If we do not see or hear anyone trapped, we begin peeling away the
first layer of the rubble. If a three-story building collapsed, we’ll
peel away one story at a time, until we get to the bottom to search for trapped
victims,” he said. “If we make eye contact or hear a trapped person, we will
tunnel an escape route directly to them, rather than peeling,” Sedty said,
gesturing to one square-shaped tunnel that had already been dug into the
“Lastly, if we have no information on trapped people and don’t
think anyone is trapped, we will bring in large tools [such as a bulldozer] and
move the wreckage, while searching for bodies,” he said.
The exercise was
attended by Magen David Adom paramedics and firefighters, to ensure maximum
cooperation between the emergency services and the Home Front
Once a person is rescued from the rubble, officials will ask him
whether he knows of other trapped people, and then study a map of the building
to try to locate them.
By the end of the week, 72 new commanders will be
qualified to respond to missile and rocket attacks on the central region.