IDF home front drill 248.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel entered the 10th day of all-out "regional war" on Sunday as the Defense Ministry began the much-anticipated emergency civil defense exercise, called Turning Point 3.
The drill began with a meeting convened by Defense Minister Ehud Barak of top civil defense officials from the Melah emergency economic forum responsible for running commercial institutions at times of war and national disaster. The drill purposely began on the 10th day of the simulated conflict.
The drill, which will last until Thursday and peak on Tuesday with the sounding of air sirens nationwide, is testing the way the cabinet, government ministries and local councils and municipalities handle various emergency scenarios, primarily missile attacks.
"The drill demonstrates the special routine of life we have," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting. "We are forced to defend Israel from possible missile and rocket attacks as well as other weapons."
For the first time in such an exercise, the IDF Home Front Command will also test a new system that issues warning of incoming missile attacks to private cell phones. The IDF is also reviewing technology that would enable it to send little "pop-up" screens to computers that are connected to the Internet.
Developed by Israeli hi-tech company eVigilo, the system connects to existing cellular antennas and is able to send messages to all phones that are being supported by the antenna. This enables the system to send warnings from areas as large as the entire country to just several city blocks, where the missile is predicted to land.
"Israelis have around 10 million cell phones and we plan to take advantage of them during an emergency," explained OC Home Front Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan.