In case of missile attack, Haifa residents may be instructed to head for the Carmel Tunnels, which according to IDF Homefront Command officials will serve as a giant bomb shelter for area residents. Special attention is focused on Haifa for a number of reasons. (1) The city’s proximity to the border, placing it well within rocket range, (2) being home to Haifa Chemicals and other chemical plants is reason for increased concern and (3) the Second Lebanon War has shown the city will be a prime target for incoming missiles in the next confrontation with Israel and her neighbors.
In addition, Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav turned to the Ministries of Industry & Trade and Transportation to declare the Carmel Tunnels “essential” so in time of warfare, workers who would be responsible for closing the tunnels could be compelled to report. City Hall has also compiled a list of businesses that are now categorized as “essential” and they too will be compelled to operate during wartime towards maintaining a semblance of normal life. This is true of the employees of Angel’s Bakery for example, supplying about a third of the nation’s bread.
In Haifa, this will include some gas stations and cellular service provider companies. The tunnels will serve as a giant shelter in the time of need, permitting residents to take shelter in the major infrastructure.
On a side note, rabbonim shlita in the past have ruled that kohanim may not travel in the tunnels, stating doing so is an איסור דאורייתא.
Rav Nissim Karelitz Shlita wrote
“כאשר שמענו שבכניסה הדרומית למנהרות הכרמל יש קברים הננו להודיע שאין לכהנים לנסוע בכביש זה עד שיתוקן הדבר וזהו איסור דאורייתא”.
His p’sak was also signed by Maran Posek HaDor HaGaon HaRav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv ZT”L and HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Halevy Wosner Shlita.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)