Second Lebanon War.
(photo credit: Reuters)
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Various city governments, national agencies and the IDF’s home front
command are feverishly preparing for the effects that a war with Iran
and its proxies in Southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip would have on
Israel’s civilian population. Speaking with officials, either local or
national, one gets a sense that everything that can be done is being
done and that Israelis have little to worry about in the event of
Several months ago, in an
interview with The Jerusalem
, Moshe Tiomkin, a Tel Aviv municipal official in
charge of defense and emergency management, as well as transportation,
said his city had set up emergency command centers and contracted with
building and construction companies to use their heavy digging and
earth-moving equipment for rescue efforts should the city face a
“After the Gulf War in 1991, private
shelters – the mamad
system – were implemented, comprising private shelters
built into every newly constructed apartment.
buildings built before the Gulf War, there is a shelter on every floor,
and there is also one under each building.
Lastly, there are more than 350 public shelters, and we even have
one shelter, a big shelter, that can hold 2,000 people,” he said.
Among the public shelters recently constructed in the
city are two mega-shelters that have received quite a lot of press over
the past year. The first, built on more than four stories underneath the
Habimah Theater, can shelter up to 1,600 people. This official shelter
will supplement an adjacent 35,000 sq.m. garage which, while not
fortified, will provide some protection for those unable to get into the
newly constructed complex.
The second newly
constructed shelter was built at the Sourasky Medical Center and can
hold between 700 and 1,000 hospital beds, also spread throughout four
underground levels. This facility currently serves as a short-term
parking garage but is said to be almost instantly convertible for
While Tiomkin seems quite
confident in the administration’s ability to protect its constituents,
signs indicating the location of public shelters are not apparent to
visitors to Tel Aviv. The thousands of commuters who stream into the
city every day, not to mention the record-breaking number of tourists
who have visited Israel over the past year, would most likely face the
prospect of a last-second frantic search for shelter should the
emergency sirens begin to wail.
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