The security establishment has drawn up a new defense doctrine to better enable Israel to deal with threats to the civilian sector, senior military sources revealed on Sunday.
The doctrine has been drawn up by the Home Front Command, Defense Ministry, and IDF General Staff, and is composed of six layers, beginning with deterrence against Israel’s enemies.
Unlike past years, Israel’s defense establishment recognizes today that deterrence must be maintained, and this is accomplished “almost every night,” the source said, adding that he could not divulge further details.
Deterrence, when properly applied, creates a disconnect between the weapons arsenal in possession of terror organizations like Hezbollah and the willingness to employ them, the source continued.
The second layer of the doctrine is diplomacy, a tool the source said can be used to “build alliances and take apart enemies without the use of weapons.”
When the first two layers fail to prevent a conflict, the defense doctrine calls for a strong attack on those seeking to harm the Israeli home front, in which threats, particularly rockets and missiles and anyone involved in firing them, are identified and destroyed before the projectiles can be fired at Israeli population centers.
Simultaneously, Israel’s air defense systems – also known as active defenses – would spring into action.
These are currently made up of the Iron Dome anti-rocket systems, and the Arrow 2 ballistic missile shield.
Due to cuts to the defense budget, planners in the Home Front Command are not certain that David’s Sling – the system designed to intercept intermediate- range rockets and missiles of the type possessed by Hezbollah – will come online in the near future, as previously expected.
Active defenses are bolstered by a fifth layer, known as passive defenses, made up of alerts and sirens for civilians in the line of fire, the broadcast of safety instructions, and fortifications to buildings that enable them to withstand projectile strikes.
The sixth and last layer of defense centers around the conduct of Israeli civilians, who are expected to comply with instructions during wartime – seek shelter in a safe zone and respond to rocket and missile alerts.
“Our ambition is that these layers communicate with one another,” the senior military source said.
The new defense doctrine is being drawn up at a time when the Israeli home front faces an unprecedented level of terrorist firepower.
Hezbollah today, according to estimations, is in possession of some 5,000 long-range rockets that can hit greater Tel Aviv, carrying warheads of between 750 kilograms to a ton.
Before the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah had 500 such rockets, with warheads weighing 350 kilograms. The Home Front Command has been busy trying to ensure that in case of a future conflict, basic functionality will continue in the civilian sector, and has been working with local authorities, government ministries, businesses, and hospitals to that end.
It is also in the midst of upgrading its ability to command and control civilian emergency services at a time of war, in part through a national emergency radio network known as Orange Lightening.
The Home Front Command is working to ensure that during a future conflict, civilians will continue to have access to water, electricity, food, local services like garbage collection and the delivery of food to those who are immobile, such as the elderly.
Another central goal of the Home Front Command is to provide assistance to IDF units designated to take part in a maneuver in enemy territory.
“One cannot say that there is a front and a home front,” the source said. “The enemy sees the home front as the front, in every way.”
As a result, the source questioned the need for a separate Home Front Defense Ministry, hinting that the Defense Ministry should be the sole government branch that oversees emergency preparations in the country.
Addressing the disbanding of Syria’s chemical weapons program, the military source said the IDF would evaluate developments on this issue in six months, before deciding whether to discontinue a gas mask distribution program to the public.
Although the removal of Syria’s chemical capabilities represents a dramatic decrease of the threat, the IDF still assesses that a risk of chemical terrorism will exist in the future, from a host of non-state actors.