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Vilnai 311.(Photo by: (Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post))
Vilna'i: Nationwide defense drill's success is our security
By YAAKOV KATZ
06/19/2011
During "Turning Point 5" exercise, Defense Ministry to test responses to bombardment of missiles from Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, Iran.
Homeland Security Minister Matan Vilna'i on Sunday commented on the “Turning Point 5” nationwide civil-defense exercise that began earlier in the day, saying "I look around the world and nowhere are there exercises of this scope. It and its success are our security."

Vilna'i made the comments at the weekly cabinet meeting, adding that, "The exercise regards extreme situations such as massive firing deep into the State of Israel."

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Explaining why the drill is important, the minister said "it is designed, first of all, for those who sit around this table, so that we might coordinate among ourselves, take responsibility and also emphasize national infrastructures. All of our national infrastructures will participate in the exercise as will one-third of local councils, which are our cornerstones. There will be staff exercises that we will all be involved in."

As part of the exercise, two sirens are scheduled to sound off around the country on Wednesday, one at at 11:00 and one at 19:00.

The "Turning Point 5" drill is set to simulate extensive damage to critical national infrastructure such as the water system and the electric grid.

During the weeklong drill, the Home Front Command, Defense Ministry’s National Emergency Administration, Israel Police and other emergency services will test their responses to a massive bombardment of missiles from Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and Iran.

Ahead of the drill, the NEA mapped out the nation’s critical infrastructure and analyzed the affect missile attacks on the facilities would have on the country’s ability to provide citizens with basic services.

Estimates in the IDF are that up to 800 missiles and rockets a day could be fired into Israel in the event of a war fought on several fronts.

“No water or electricity means no production, and makes it impossible to run the country,” a defense official said. “For this reason we need to know what are the most important facilities that we need to continue working, and what needs to keep on receiving water and electricity, and how to make that happen.”

Some 80 municipalities and local authorities will participate in the exercise, during which the Home Front Command will employ a system that sends missile warnings to cellphones for the first time.

The Home Front Command and the Defense Ministry will also simulate the evacuation of 300,000 people from northern and central Israel to the South.

The IDF has drawn up plans to create housing and infrastructure for such evacuees if needed. They might be housed in empty IDF bases.
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