Officials from municipalities and the Home Front Command are holding talks with a US company about buying a missile alert system that sends text messages to inform the public of incoming projectiles, The Jerusalem Post learned.
The system, created by the San Francisco-based Nixle company, was shown to the Home Front Command in late September, and will be displayed for municipal officials from Tel Aviv, Rishon Lezion, Ramat Gan, Givatayim and other cities next week, said Marc Kahlberg of Safe City Solutions, an Israeli security consultancy group that represents Nixle here.
In the event of missile fire, subscribers would receive a text message alert with a map of the affected area.
The system is able to send 500 messages per second from a single Internet server, Kahlberg said.
A live demonstration of the system will be held for authorities in Herzliya in December.
The Home Front Command viewed another missile alert system earlier this year, but is far more enthusiastic about the Nixle product, Kahlberg said.
"The goal is to make it as cheap as possible for the end user. It could be free for members of the public. Municipalities could purchase the server and make the messages free to tax payers," he said.
"Alternatively, it could cost a shekel or two a month for the end user for the first two years, and then become free," Kahlberg added.
"Israel is a country at risk, whether we like it or not. I am looking for ways to let people know about emergencies through text messaging and mapping, to get the information across as soon as possible," he declared.
In the US, police departments use the Nixle text messaging system to send out alerts containing details of recent crimes. Members of the public who subscribe to the service are urged to report suspicious activity back to police, or to photograph suspects with their cellphones.
Kahlberg, a South African-born former Israel Police officer, said the system had been viewed by the Israel Police and that talks over a possible purchase were being held.