Home Front Command search and rescue drills [Illustrative].
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
The Home Front Command’s Jerusalem District reached a peak level of activity during the week-long national war drill on Tuesday, which simulated war and heavy projectile attacks from multiple fronts.
Col. Shai Belaish, commander of the district, told The Jerusalem Post that he expects the capital to be targeted by Hezbollah in the event of a future conflict, as it was by Hamas in Gaza last summer during Operation Protective Edge.
“Are there strategic targets in the city that the enemy will try to hit? The answer is affirmative. We have to assume that the city of Jerusalem is threatened – not to the extent that the North is, but still, it is threatened. We must coordinate expectations with the public... the ability of the enemy to include Jerusalem as a target has already happened. Now, we have to ask what we do if it happens again,” he said.
Prior to the exercise, the Home Front Command met with local authorities and emergency responders in the capital to draw up a war game. When the drill began on Sunday, the district called up its reserve forces, ran a number of scenarios and refreshed its operational programs.
“We linked up with all civilian and military elements in the city. All of the IDF bases in the Jerusalem district took part in a test of their readiness [for rocket and missile attack]. We are in touch with every local authority, and assigned them each a unique emergency scenario to practice, like a missile falling in the jurisdiction of a certain regional council,” said Belaish.
The authorities practiced working hand in hand, he added. The Home Front Command is responsible for evacuating civilians from a heavily damaged building struck by a missile, but it is up to the local authorities to find alternative accommodations.
“These are some of the scenarios we are drilling,” the district commander explained.
The exercise is guided by the view that “the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts,” he added. “No one works alone.
We cooperate with the other forces, and everyone brings their advantage. Together, we build the solution.”
As part of the Turning Point 15 exercise, two air raid sirens sounded on Tuesday, to get schools and civilians to practice their evacuation to safe areas.
Beliash said adhering to safety instructions is essential for civilians during emergencies, adding that “this has saved lives in the past, and where people ignored the instructions, there were casualties. The more we decrease casualties, the stronger the Home Front Command will be, allowing the IDF to win on the front.”