Some experts are responsible for running the various scenarios, just what will be the case in the event of an Iranian attack against Israel chas v’sholom, which according to intelligence officials will lead to warfare on the Hizbullah and Gaza fronts as well. This means missile attacks from Israel’s southern and northern borders. According to outgoing Homefront Affairs Minister Matan Vilnai, in such a scenario, the entire nation will be the ‘homefront’, signaling missile attacks can strike all areas, including Gush Dan and Yerushalayim.
Analyzing the situation strictly ‘derech hateva’, without the Siyata Dishmaya than can change the norm in accordance to Hashem’s will, the following information has been released as an Israeli assault against Iran appears increasingly likely.
Even if the need arises there are only enough personal protection kits for 60% of residents at present and an additional 1.3 billion NIS is required to supply all residents. Therefore, those wishing a gas mask should get one as quickly as possible while they are still available.
Israel’s firefighting officials report “one more fire and we have serious problems”. They explain they are already understaffed and overworked, and unlike the IDF and other agencies, there are no reservists to staff the fire trucks in times of emergency. There are 1,650 firefighters nationwide and 430 fire trucks. In a state of emergency shifts are canceled and all personnel move to alert status. “Whatever the case we simply cannot address hundreds of fires simultaneously” officials in the fire service report.
In 2000, the Ministry of Health announced all emergency rooms, intensive care units, delivery rooms, preemie wards and surgical suites must be fortified. After the Second Lebanon War, the ministry called to fortify 70% of the wards of the nation’s hospitals. This project is expected to be completed in 2015, but according to present realities, this may be too late for some.
In the north, emergency rooms and some operating rooms and wards are fortified. In Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center, a new underground parking facility is going to become operational this year that can turn into a hospital in time of need. Its three floors will be able to accommodate 2,000 people.
In the south, the emergency room and most operating suites of Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva are fortified. In Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, fortification work is scheduled for completion in 2015.
In the Center, two underground parking lots are being certified in Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in Tel Aviv. The makeshift hospital will only be capable of accommodating 400 beds. Emergency rooms and some operating suites are fortified.
In Petach Tikvah’s Beilinson Hospital work continues.
In Assaf HaRofeh (Rishon L’Tzion) and Wolfson (Rechovot) and Ichilov (Tel Aviv) the emergency rooms and operating suites are fortified. The parking lot can be converted into a hospital to accommodate 800 people within 12 hours.
In Jerusalem, Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem’s new wing will be fortified in 2013.
Officials in the Ministry of Transportation hope the lessons of the Second Lebanon War have been learned towards preventing a collapse of the civilian system in a state of emergency. A special unit has been established to address operations during a state of emergency. Preparations include ongoing training exercises and formulating operating plans that take realistic events into consideration, such as the bombing of bridges on bus routes and/or natural disasters such as earthquakes.
Ministry officials admit however that in the event of a war, the military maintains priority over personnel and vehicles while the civilian sector will be compelled to make do with that which remains.
As such, a committee has been established to liaison between the public transportation sector and the military. Arrangements have also been made vis-à-vis the deployment of sea port workers and railway employees in the event these are idled during a war. In addition, there are contingency plans for the hauling of containers should such a reality exist. Unfortunately, the latter has not been the focus of any training exercises.
The main plan in the event of missile attacks is long distance learning. Such a system revolves around each student having his own password, permitting access to daily classroom work and assignments as well as maintaining electronic contact with teachers. In a recent state comptroller’s report, it states school bomb shelters are in particularly poor condition and many schools simply lack acceptable fortification.
In Hod HaSharon for example, 5 of 22 schools are not fortified. 16 kindergartens out of 66 are not ready for an emergency situation.
The Ministry of Education states all schools have fortified area in which students can seek cover and students are well rehearsed in running to these areas.
HOMEFRONT AFFAIRS MINISTRY
The ministry reports local municipalities have a long way to go until they are ready for a war situation. The guidelines for inspection to ascertain the level of preparedness will only be ready in another year.
Adding to this bleak reality is the fact that in about ten days, the ministry will not have a minister as Matan Vilnai has been appointed as Israel’s next ambassador to China and he will be leaving for his new assignment.
The ministry is investing tens of millions of NIS to encourage and promote increased preparedness on the local level. As the situation stands today, no one can really evaluate which municipalities and cities are prepared for the eventuality of a missile attack.
Alon Rozen, the director-general of the ministry adds that today, the situation is significantly better than anything known in the past, confirming much work lies ahead in the future.
As things stand today, with the threat of a war that involved missile attacks into the homefront from several borders, no one has appointed a replacement for Vilnai to keep this vital ministry operational.
One of the fears of missile attacks is missiles carrying nonconventional warheads, which can R”L include biological and/or chemical weapons. Major-General (reserves) Herzl Shapir heads the committee responsible for addressing these concerns.
Another major concern is missile slamming to Haifa Chemicals, which could release toxic vapors into the atmosphere, presenting another life-threatening situation. Addressing the latter, it was decided to fortify the ammonia storage tanks of the chemical company but due to a dispute over funding between the Ministry of Environmental Affairs and the Homefront Ministry, nothing has been done in this area to date.
These concerns are also shared regarding extremely large ammonia storage tanks in other area companies and in these cases too nothing has been done.
Environmental Affairs Ministry officials report that it has mapped out 150 chemical companies situated close enough to population centers to require attention. At present, officials are just beginning to discuss what action must be taken. In short, nothing has been done to provide any level of protection for all the chemicals being manufactured and stored in Haifa, well within Hizbullah rocket range as was seen in the Second Lebanon War.
The Homefront and Environmental Ministries continues to point a finger of blame at the other. The IDF Spokesman reports the ammonia storage tanks meet IDF Homefront Command requirements, but these requirements are not specified.
הנה לא ינום ולא ישן שומר ישראל… אין לנו על מי לסמוך אלא על אבינו שבשמים.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)