Sirens sound in national emergency attack drill

Public encouraged to drill their responses to missile attack; second round of sirens goes off at 7:05 p.m.

Home Front Command earthquake drill 300 (photo credit: Hadas Parush)
Home Front Command earthquake drill 300
(photo credit: Hadas Parush)
Two air raid sirens went off across the nation on Monday as part of an annual drill aimed at getting the nation ready for possible missile attacks.
Schools across the country participated in the exercise to strengthen preparedness of the educational system.
As the alarm sounded at 12:30 p.m., teachers and pupils were required to leave the classrooms and rehearse evacuating into protected spaces.
In addition, students practiced operating the distance-learning program, which allows students to participate in online lessons with their teacher and classmates in the event that, for security reasons, they would not be able to meet at school.
In the coming weeks, the IDF Home Front Command will hold surveys to measure the level of participation in the drill among members of the public.
The Home Front Command hoped that children who practiced seeking shelter in schools during the first siren encouraged their parents to take part in the exercise later on Monday during the evening siren.
Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan called on all civilians to take part in the drill on Monday morning, adding that they should not count on the Iron Dome and other defensive measures by the the IDF.
Israelis “should take responsibility for their families and friends and be prepared for all scenarios,” Erdan said.
The drills are aimed at ensuring that civilians know where their closest safe zone is, he added.
“I also call on all state authorities to ensure that their emergency readiness is at the maximum level, so that they can continue to function in every situation,” Erdan said.
The first drill interrupted a meeting between Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and his deputies, who ran to the nearest safe room when the siren went off.
Edelstein touted the importance of respecting the drill as he waited in the lounge behind the plenum, usually open to MKs only, but was full of reporters and members of the Knesset legal department.
“Everyone should take this seriously and go to the nearest safe space, as I and other MKs did,” he said. “It’s not a waste of time.”
MKs who are not deputy Knesset speakers were instructed to go to certain committee rooms that are fortified.
The exercise, which is to last until Wednesday as part of national emergency week, will involve the Home Front Defense Ministry, the National Emergency Authority, local authorities, government ministries and all emergency responders.
“Israel is the most threatened state in the world,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday at the weekly cabinet meeting.
Defense experts estimate that there are some 200,000 rockets and missiles in the collective possession of Hezbollah, Syria, Hamas and Iran.
“We are investing billions so that the home front will be better protected and better prepared,” Netanyahu added.