'Rocket fire won't force residents to evacuate homes'

"IDF won’t urge residents of cities under rocket fire to evacuate their homes," senior officer from the Home Front Command says.

November 18, 2011 08:50
2 minute read.
Police pick up debris from a kassam rocket

Police pick up rocket 260. (photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)


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The IDF will not encourage residents of cities under rocket fire to evacuate their homes during a future war even though Israel is expected to come under unprecedented rocket fire in comparison to the Second Lebanon War in 2006, a senior officer from the Home Front Command said on Thursday.

On Thursday, the Home Front Command’s newly established Haifa District completed a week-long exercise following which it was declared ready for operations.

The district was established following the Carmel fires last year which killed 44 people, mostly Prisons Service cadets.

The scenario drilled was an all-out war involving the firing of hundreds of rockets a day into Israel with dozens landing in Haifa and its surrounding areas.

“Haifa is the main population center in the North and is close to the Lebanese and Syrian borders,” Col. Yitzhak Eitan, commander of the IDF Home Front Command’s Haifa District, said on Thursday.

“As a result, it is naturally one of the most threatened cities in the country.”

Eitan said the establishment of the new district was aimed at improving cooperation between the Home Front Command and Israel’s other emergency security services such as Magen David Adom, Fire and Rescue Service and the Israel Police.

Eitan said that despite assessments that Israel will be hit by hundreds of rockets and missiles every day during a future war, the Home Front Command is working with local councils and municipalities to provide them with the capabilities that will enable them to care for their residents when under attack.

“We will not encourage residents to flee their homes even though there are plans to evacuate people from cities under attack to areas that are less threatened,” he said. “The more the local council is trained and prepared, it will be easier for residents to stay in their cities and their homes.

Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, former head of Military Intelligence’s Research Division and the future commander of the National Defense Colleges, said Thursday that the home front was one of the most important dimensions of a future war and the way it is dealt with would have a significant impact on the country’s ability to wage war against its enemies.

“The public will be willing to sustain rocket fire if it understands the purpose of the war, why it was initiated and if the government can protect them, Baidatz said at a conference at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

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