We need to be prepared, ” says an IDF officer as a large-scale drill ends

“The main facade should be ready, and so should we. Whenever something happens, we must all be prepared, the citizens and the army, ”said the Northern Command Training Officer.
Lieutenant Colonel Yaniv Friedman.

Along with Homefront Command and RAHEL, all security and various government agencies, as well as the Israel Police and Magen David Adom participated in the drill that ended Wednesday night.

“The drill got more complicated as the days went by, just as we expect it to turn into a war,” Friedman said. “We know that there are not only soldiers, but also reservists who need to be trained to protect the state of Israel.”

It is the Home Front Command that is responsible for alerting the public of any rocket that has been fired by Israel’s enemies and for alerting citizens to incoming rocket attacks using sirens and push notifications from its app.

Soldiers participating in IDF Homefront Command and National Emergency Authority (RAHEL) large-scale drill (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON UNIT)

In May, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad launched more than 4,000 rockets and other projectiles at Israel. Twelve Israeli citizens and one soldier were killed.

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.

The week-long drill with thousands of soldiers, reservists and government officials comes on the heels of the military learned of the May fighting between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

“There are regulations in place at Homefront Command, and you need to train the people and the systems themselves to make sure they work when needed in an emergency,” Friedman said.

The drill included simulating missile strikes from the north, as well as from the south and east, facing race riots within Israel and widespread cyber attacks on vital infrastructure such as power plants, hospitals, or water infrastructure that could disrupt life.

Due to the large number of projectiles expected to be fired into border communities and the continuing lack of adequate bomb shelters, the drill also focused on evacuating residents of communities within 5 km. from the Lebanese border and the absorption of those people elsewhere in Israel.

Evacuations were simulated under enemy fire.

Lt Col Sagi Baruch, who heads the southern branch of the command, said the “significant” drill challenged everyone involved in a number of scenarios the country will face, both in the north and south during the war.

“The evacuation of civilians during the war is a very complicated scenario,” said Lt. Colonel. Sagi Baruch, who heads the southern branch of the command, added that each community knows where it will be evacuated, whether in the center or south of the country.

“The challenge is the north, but we hope that terrorist groups from the south will also want to challenge Israel when something happens in the north, along with violence in civilian areas such as road disturbances and other challenges in mixed cities,” Baruch said.

“We are looking to see if all bodies can work together to provide the correct answer,” he said.

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.

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


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