The IDF will begin a nationwide civil defense exercise next week that will
include the largest-ever simulation of missile interceptions held by the air
The air force simulation will involve all of its missile defense
systems – Arrow, Iron Dome and David’s Sling. The scenario will include hundreds
of “missiles” fired into Israel from several fronts. The Home Front Command will
receive a detailed analysis of the number of “missiles” that the IAF succeeds in
“intercepting” and those it does not.
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During the weeklong drill, called
Turning Point 5, the Home Front Command, the Defense Ministry’s National
Emergency Administration, the Israel Police and other emergency services will
test their responses to a massive bombardment of Israel by missiles fired from
Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and Iran.
Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry is in
talks with the Finance Ministry in an effort to obtain the remaining budget it
requires to manufacture the almost three million gas masks that the home front
needs, and to complete distribution to the Israeli public.
By the end of
the year, only 60 percent of the country will have gas masks and NIS 1.4 billion
is still missing from the defense budget to order masks and protective kits for
the remaining 40%.
A senior defense official said on Wednesday that the
Defense Ministry planned to conclude negotiations with the Treasury regarding
the missing budget by the end of the year.
“We do not want to reach a
stage where we will have to shut down the production line since we will not have
a budget and then the entire process will be delayed,” the official
The exercise will begin on Sunday with the participation of some 80
municipalities and local authorities and will reach its peak on Wednesday when
air raid sirens will sound twice throughout the country, once in the morning and
once at night. During the exercise, the Home Front Command will use a new system
which can send missile warnings to cellular phones.
Maj.-Gen. Eyal Eisenberg took up his post as the new commander of the Home Front
Command in place of Maj.- Gen. Yair Golan who will move next month to the
Northern Command. Eisenberg last served as commander of the Gaza
Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said during the
ceremony that Israel was under greater risk today due to the ongoing upheaval in
the Middle East.
“Israel is in the middle of the storm that is shaking
the Middle East,” Gantz said. “The IDF needs to stand strong and do everything
that it can so Israel can remain an island of security among the Arab
During the drill, the Home Front Command and Defense
Ministry will also simulate the evacuation of 300,000 people from northern and
central Israel to the South. IDF sources said that it was possible that in a
future war with Hezbollah or Syria, hundreds of thousands of Israelis would
evacuate their homes, and as a result the IDF has drawn up plans to create
housing and infrastructure for the evacuees if needed. There is also a
possibility that the evacuees will be housed in empty IDF bases.