Israel’s incoming rocket alert systems will now sound in specific communities where a threat is identified rather than the current array of sirens which are triggered throughout larger regions, the IDF has announced.
On Wednesday, the Home Front Command began a campaign to educate the public about the new alert system in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian and Amharic. The Homefront Command has also begun a specific campaign for the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community.
The campaign will also allow Israelis to go onto their website beginning at 5 p.m. and put in their exact address to know what specific polygon they are part of and how long they have to find shelter.
The military has been working for decades to improve its incoming rocket alert system. After extensive work, which included close dialogue with local authorities and significant technological improvements, it has been able to implement a new system which will enable it to alert citizens in specific areas.
The precise system will alert specific polygons of areas which will allow civilians who are not directly in harm’s way to continue to go about their daily lives.
“We understood from [what happened in] the past that although Israel had only one warning system, it’s not something that we can live with,” said Lt.-Col. Shlomi Maman of the Home Front Command's Early Warning Branch. “With this new precise system, there will be 1,700 different alert areas as opposed to the current system in which the country is divided into 255 areas.”
One example given by the military was of two Gaza border areas (236, 238) in which there are 13 communities with about 5,000 residents.
With the old system, the entire area used to be alerted – even if only three communities were at risk of rocket or mortar fire – making all 5,000 residents run for shelter. But with the new system, only the residents of the three communities would head for shelter, sparing thousands from interrupting their daily lives.
As part of the effort to make the alert system as specific as possible, large municipalities will be split into separate alert areas. Jerusalem, Haifa, Hadera, Tel Aviv, Beersheba and Ashdod will each be split into four areas, while cities like Herzilya, Rishon Letzion and Netanya will be split into two areas.
Home front broadcast alerts will also change from the name of the region under threat to the name of the city. For example, until now an alert in the city of Lod displayed as "Shfela 179," but will now be displayed as Lod. The Krayot will be divided into Kiryat Bialik, Kiryat Yam and Kiryat Motzkin.
Another 60 national infrastructure facilities, hazardous chemical facilities, industrial areas and hospitals will also be given an individual alert area.
“With the implementation of the new warning zones, civilians will be able to take defensive actions in a focused manner – and in cases where the threat is real, to the area in which they reside. This move is intended to enable the realization of a balanced lifestyle in times of emergency,” the army said.
While warning from long-range missiles will be activated by soldiers, short-range warnings like those heard in communities close to the border with Gaza and in the north along the Lebanon and Syrian borders will be automatic. There are still no solution for some parts of the country, especially in the Jordan Valley and Israel’s Negev desert though the military says that the issue will be solved in the next few months.Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.
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