Friday, March 5, 2010

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Israel to Conduct Nationwide Civil Defense Drill

by David Bedein

The most extensive nationwide civil defense drill in Israel’s history will be launched starting next Sunday.

It will start with a “battle in Gaza” that will spread as a second front in the “war” opens in northern Israel. In addition, the forces will train for an uprising and rioting by Israel’s Arabs.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli media: “[T]his is a routine drill, which was planned several months ago and is held every year in order to coordinate between civil and military systems.”

The drill will begin on May 31 and will last five days.

The Israeli Defense Ministry will coordinate the exercise with the assistance of the Israel National Emergency Authority. It aims to train the Israeli home front, from the government level down to the civilian level, and will simulate a comprehensive regional war.

According to the planned scenario, Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria will become involved in the war, while Palestinians will carry out terror attacks and Israel’s Arabs will riot en masse.

The Israeli government will announce various scenarios, while the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will mobilize forces as the events unfold. The proposed scenario simulates an escalation lasting three months, reaching its peak with an overall attack on Israel.

The outline of the drill has been presented to the government ministers. The overall war scenario will begin with a mock escalation in Gaza, which will lead to an Israeli military ground offensive. After 60 days of fighting in Gaza, tensions in the north will heat up. At that time, the scenario proposes forcing the army to enlist reserve forces and launch a war on the northern front.

During the war, barrages of missiles will hit the Israeli home front.

Simultaneously, a terror offensive will develop, and extensive riots will take place across the country.

Air raid sirens will sound across the country.

The drill will kick off on Sunday with an exercise involving Israeli government ministers at their weekly cabinet meeting.

Monday will involve the IDF’s Home Front Command, the Emergency Economy, the Israel Police, government ministries and local authorities.

On Tuesday, an air raid siren will sound across the country; roads will be blocked and citizens and school students will practice entering bomb shelters.

On Wednesday, the Israeli security cabinet and the national information system will go into full operation.

On Thursday, the last day of the drill, the Israeli military will hold field exercises, in coordination with the Israel Home Front Command headquarters.

As part of the drill, cooperation between departments of the Israeli government and the military will be examined.

In addition to war scenarios, Israel will also witness a simulated a major terror attack, natural disaster, epidemic malfunction in a hazardous materials facility.

Last week, the Israel Air Force (IAF) held a three-day drill that included various scenarios and staged fronts the force may have to handle.

Pilots also practiced a number of combat maneuvers. The drill incorporated scenarios relevant to the current threats faced by Israel. As part of the drill, members of the Israeli Air Force were briefed on Iran’s test-launch of its new missile, the Sajjil-2, which has been said to pose a threat to Israel’s security.

View this story in the Philadelphia Bulletin
View this story at Israel Behind the News

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