The Bible teaches its readers to be prepared, and Israel’s National Emergency Authority is tasked with making sure that happens. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, the authority is gearing up for Emergency Preparedness Week, with a goal of improving the country’s readiness to face a likely prolonged rocket attack from Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south.
Authority head Betzalel Treiber said on Friday that the group would be testing responses among all emergency responders and the civilian sector, at both the local and national level, “to potential scenarios that we expect.” According to the authority’s assessments, the country’s current level of overall preparedness is “a little better than average”, but certain sectors need improvement.
“We have much to do, like raising awareness, preparing plans for the provision of vital services. Whole systems, like welfare and health, are better prepared,” Treiber explained. However, “we have gaps in stockpiling goods, particularly in fuels and refined petroleum,” he added.
Hundreds of representatives from government ministries, local councils, emergency services, water providers, and the Electric Corporation will meet to discuss responses to the anticipated rocket and missile attacks.
“This threat forms a very significant challenge to the readiness of the home front, because Hezbollah and Hamas understand that the main target is the country’s home front, and the resilience of civilians and national infrastructure,” Treiber said.
Among the preparations needed is a plan to evacuate large populations from Israel’s northern and southern regions quickly and efficiently. “We understand that, if necessary, we will have to evacuate tens of thousands of people in the South and North. We are cooperating mainly with government ministries and municipal councils.”
A central focus of the week is enabling a large urban area to function under prolonged fire.
A poll conducted by the National Emergency Authority revealed that 14 percent of civilians would want to evacuate their homes in case of a massive missile attack; 67 percent would not go to work; 25 percent would feel safe; only nine percent of parents would send their children to schools; while 92 percent of the public believe they would know what to do in such a situation.
Treiber expressed concern regarding the poll results. “There is a problem in the sense of security and safety among people, with an emphasis on the northern border.
“We understand that parents have a significant problem [in sending children to school during war],” he acknowledged.
The National Emergency Authority is part of the Defence Ministry.
On a separate but related note, the IDF Home Front Command announced Saturday night it would be conducting its own drills in the Western Galilee in the coming days. Increased security vehicle traffic is expected, and fireworks and smoke grenades will also be visible during the exercises.