Home Front Command, RAHEL to conduct a joint wartime drill

Israel’s Home Front Command and National Emergency Authority (RAHEL) will conduct a week-long drill starting Sunday simulating a full-scale war in which civilians are evacuated from northern border communities and the Security agencies will deal with the massive rocket bombardments sent by Hezbollah.

The drill will draw lessons learned from past events in the north, as well as from the May fighting between Israel and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip – Operation Guardian of the Walls – and from the Second Lebanon War in 2006. .

After the May fighting, the Home Front Command “carried out a very significant learning process with a lot of research, and this exercise will put what we have learned to the test,” said the Chief of Staff of the Home Front Command, Brigadier General. Bar Itzik.

The Israel Police and Magen David Adom will also participate in the drill, which ends on Thursday and will have the participation of all security and various government agencies.

“This exercise is also a great opportunity for all government ministries to understand the implications, starting with disruptions in the energy sector (we are talking about 24-hour power outages throughout the country, 72 hours in localized communities) and other aspects. similar in terms of continuous operation, ”said Bar.

According to RAHEL director Yoram Laredo, the drill is the first time he has worked together with the Home Front Command, and will sharpen the skills of the two to work hand in hand.

The drill will focus on a new alert system for residents of northern Israel, as well as the rate of fire and Hezbollah’s ability to fire precision missiles and massive bombardments toward specific areas, especially communities near the border fence. .

Warning sirens will also be tested on Wednesday with a new alert time and the unit’s emergency app.

LOCATIONS WHERE Sirens have changed from “immediate” to “15 seconds” are the communities of Ga’aton, Yehiam and Evron in the Mateh Asher Regional Council, the Golan communities of Geshur, Neot Golan, Yoav-Bnei Yehuda, Mevo Hama and the Kela IDF base. In the Jordan Valley, the communities of Ma’agan, Golan Heights, Maasade, Kinneret College, and Tel Katzir have been expanded from 15 to 30 seconds.

Due to the large number of projectiles expected to fire towards border communities and the continuing lack of adequate bomb shelters, the drill will also focus on the joint evacuation of residents of communities within five kilometers. from the Lebanese border and its absorption elsewhere in Israel.

The Home Front Command Civil Aid Logistics Battalion will carry out a continuous stay inside the bomb shelters due to a prolonged duration of the rocket launch, whose entire function is to support civilians who remain long within the protected areas with resources and other supplies.

According to a 2020 report by the State Comptroller’s Office, millions of Israelis do not have basic means of protection near their homes, and plans for the evacuation of the population, in the event of a war, have not yet been completed.

The report indicated that some shared public and private shelters in communities along the border are expected to be overcrowded during times of emergencies “that may not allow extended stays.”

According to Bar, both rocket attacks and cyber attacks will be carried out, as they can “create serious disruptions.”

The drill will also work on the capacity of hospitals to handle a large number of wounded soldiers in need of urgent care, as well as on the transfer of patients to hospitals in the center of the country to provide optimal care.

A scenario simulating a missile attack on an industrial plant containing hazardous materials will also be drilled at the Milotel factory in the Leiman industrial zone in Nahariya. In the exercise, a container containing the hazardous material is struck and forces must contain the leak and provide care for the injured. As such, troops will enter the factory in protective suits to deal with the escape and ambulances will evacuate the wounded from the scene.

HEZBOLLAH SECRETARY: General Hassan Nasrallah has threatened to attack Haifa ammonia plants and other similar factories in the past, and a 2020 State Comptroller report revealed deficiencies regarding the protection of vital infrastructure and facilities by the defense organizations responsible for their protection.

But according to Bar, factories in northern Israel that have hazardous materials “are more protected than ever and every year they get better.”

Formed in 1992 after the first Gulf War, the Home Front Command is in charge of civil defense and is responsible for preparing the country in the event of conflict or disaster, be it natural or man-made.

In July, Laredo told the Foreign Relations and Defense Committee that the organization was “currently undergoing restructuring, both in terms of focusing its mission and roles, and in terms of creating an adequate organizational structure.”

According to the head of RAHEL, after the 2018 Mizrahi Committee, the Home Front Command was defined as the main operational body responsible for the local authority and government district level, while RAHEL was in charge of the strategic level and guiding the ministries. governments in general preparedness for emergencies.

The Mizrahi Committee’s recommendations will be reviewed as part of the drill.

The Home Front Command was criticized for its response during the 2006 war with Hezbollah, in which more than 160 Israelis were killed. Since then, it has strengthened its units and its liaison units are active in hundreds of municipalities throughout the country.

The command is responsible for warning the public of any rocket that has been fired by Israel’s enemies and for alerting citizens of incoming rocket attacks using sirens and push notifications from its app.

If a war breaks out with Hezbollah, tens of thousands of rockets are expected to be fired from Lebanon, with some 2,000 fired at Israel every day.


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