Authorities will hold a war drill next week based on the scenario of missiles
pouring in from multiple fronts, with some carrying chemical warheads. The
“targets” in the drill include population centers and strategic
Named “Steadfast Home Front 1,” the exercise will simulate
the firing of missiles from Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza, and will include two
air-raid sirens that will ring out across the country next Monday, May
During the sirens, members of the public are encouraged to seek a
preselected safe zone and drill their responses to missile attack.
first siren will sound at 12:30 p.m., and is mainly aimed at schools and work
places, while the second, at 7:05 p.m., is to drill families at home.
drill will test the responses of all first responders – police, firefighters,
and paramedics – as well as the IDF Home Front Command and national and local
government, said Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan during a press
conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
“This is one of the lessons the
government and emergency responders learned from the Second Lebanon War, when
they were caught unprepared, and suffered from a lack of coordination,” Erdan
He added that the risk of an actual chemical attack on Israel was
low, and that the main threat remained a conventional missile attack. Some enemy
projectiles have conventional warheads made up of several hundred kilograms of
explosives, Erdan said.
“Today, the scenarios we see are different than
before. We see Hamas equipping itself in the south, and we see the abilities of
Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran,” Erdan added.
“Our enemies have despaired of
trying to conquer Israel and will try to exhaust and terrorize Israeli civilians
instead,” the minister said.
“We once asked if the enemy would dare fire
missiles on Ashkelon, Tel Aviv… and Haifa. I think these questions no longer
have a place. The answer is clear. The question now is, when will they fire on
population centers? It can happen tonight, or next week.”
drill, authorities will simulate hundreds of missiles striking the Gush Dan
metropolitan area in central Israel. Erdan said the home front’s ability to
contend with that scenario is “no less important than the IDF’s offensive
Home Front Command head Maj- Gen. Eyal Eizenberg said that
any future war would result in significantly higher casualties among Israeli
civilians than past conflicts. He described the Second Lebanon War as a “taste,
but not more” of a future clash.
The Iron Dome rocket interception system
will not be able to defend civilians in the event of attacks from northern
arenas, Eizenberg stressed.
“The home front will experience what it has
not experienced in the past, should such a conflict erupt. We have to reach a
place where the home front is strong, and decision makers are free to operate,”
Eizenberg also had a warning for Israel’s
“Israel has offensive destructive powers many times more
powerful than that of our neighbors. I suggest that before they power up their
engines, our neighbors weigh up their decision carefully,” he said.
by the The Jerusalem Post whether current tensions with Syria meant that the
timing for such a national drill was less than ideal, Eizenberg responded, “It
will only advance our preparedness if something happens in our area.”
went on to say that responses to chemical attacks are primarily about effective
command and control capabilities.
“That’s what we are testing,” Eizenberg
Gabi Ophir, director-general of the Homeland Security Ministry,
said that even though the chances of chemical missiles are “very unlikely, we’re
taking no chances.”
Next Thursday, a day after the end of the exercise,
Erdan will brief fellow ministers on the week’s events in a meeting that will be
attended by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
The homeland security
minister will then spend the following two months assessing the results of the
“We will test the full range of our alert systems… from air sirens
to social media networks, to media outlets… to cell phones. All of the tools at
our disposal,” Ophir said.
According to the Home Front Command, civilians
outdoors who hear a siren should seek shelter. If there is none, they should lie
on the ground with their hands on their heads. If they are in a vehicle, they
should pull over and seek shelter. If there is none around, they should follow
the same steps as above.
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