web analytics
May 24, 2015 / 6 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Is Israeli Home Front Ready For War With Iran?

MK Zeev Bielski

MK Zeev Bielski

JERUSALEM – Shira Morgenstein, a 38-year-old secretary, rushed from her exercise class at the Hebrew University swimming pool to pick up her daughter from preschool.

“Who has time to think about war with Iran?” she laughed as she tossed her wet bathing suit into her bag. “I don’t even have a shelter to run to, but too much else is going on.”

With the drumbeat to war intensifying from Washington to Jerusalem, security analysts seem to agree on what Iran’s response to an Israeli attack might look like: missile attacks on Israel from the Islamic Republic and its proxies, Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and a campaign of terrorist attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets overseas. Iran might even use chemical and biological weapons.

With such a dire scenario, Israel is facing an urgent question: Is the home front ready for war?

Zeev Bielski, chairman of the Knesset subcommittee on Israel’s home defense, says the answer is an unequivocal ‘no’.

“The home front is not ready,” Bielski told JTA. “We have made improvements over the situation since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, when the home front was completely unprepared, but the situation is not good.”

The first layer of defense is likely to be Israel’s missile defense systems. But one system, David’s Sling, which is meant to destroy incoming medium-range rockets, probably won’t be operational at least until 2013. Another, the Arrow, which was developed in conjunction with the United States at a cost of more than $1 billion and was specifically designed with Iran’s Shehab missiles in mind, has never been tested in real-life combat.

A third, Iron Dome, has intercepted short-range rockets from Gaza, but Israel only has three Iron Dome installations while experts say the country needs at least 12.

“The systems we have will cut down on the damage that the missiles can cause, but they cannot completely prevent it,” said Yiftah Shapir, director of the military balance project at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies.

“Some of those missiles will make it to Israeli population centers. Israel should be ready for a long period of attacks, perhaps even months, and this may bring commerce and other aspects of civilian life to a halt.”

Iran has hundreds of Shehab-3 missiles, and Hizbullah is said to have at least 40,000 missiles and rockets, many of which are sophisticated, long-range weapons that can reach almost any part of Israel.

“Israel’s major cities have never come under attack,” Shapir said. “This will be a very different and difficult experience for Israeli civilians.”

A little more than a year ago, the Defense Ministry established the Civil Defense Ministry to take responsibility for home-front defense. But the office has no budget, staffing or authority. A report in December by the state comptroller, the government’s internal watchdog agency, criticized local authorities for failing to conduct home-front emergency drills.

According to a 1992 law, all new residential buildings in Israel must be built with a reinforced room that can withstand rocket and missile attacks. The rooms were meant to phase out public bomb shelters that date back to the 1950s. But some 1.7 million Israelis still have no access to any type of physical protection, according to Bielski.

In addition, some 40 percent of Israelis do not have gas masks, which are considered crucial in the event of a chemical or biological attack. Bielski says Israel has an additional 1 million masks in storage – to be released if a state of emergency is declared – but that would leave 2 million people without masks. The $330 million it would cost to get masks and other provisions to everyone is not in the government’s budget, according to Bielski.

“It is the responsibility of the government to provide basic protection for its citizens, and the government is not fulfilling its responsibilities,” Bielski said.

In December, Defense Minister Ehud Barak in an interview with Army Radio said the key element to preventing casualties is for Israelis to stay home.

“War is not a picnic, but if Israel is forced to act, we won’t have 50,000, 5,000 or even 500 dead, so long as people stay in their homes,” Barak said.

The advice might apply not just within Israel but to Israelis and Jews overseas. Among the responses considered likely by Iran are terrorist attacks like the bombings that destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and the AMIA Jewish community center in the Argentina capital in 1994. The attacks killed 114 people.

But Efraim Kam, deputy head of the Institute for National Security Studies, said Iran’s terrorist capability is not as effective today because of its weakened terrorist infrastructure and global efforts against terrorism. As evidence, he pointed to the recent botched attacks on Israeli targets in Georgia, India and Thailand, for which Israel has fingered Iran.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Is Israeli Home Front Ready For War With Iran?”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Sha'ar Shechem / Damascus Gate. The Old City of Jerusalem.
Arab Stabs 2 Jewish Teens in Old City Terror Attack on Shavuot
Latest News Stories
Hassan Nasrallah Alive

Hezbollah terror chief Hassan Nasrallah is getting very scared of Islamic State’s advances.

One of the Molotov Cocktails thrown at the Beit Orot Yeshiva in Jerusalem. (June 16, 2014)

Between June 2014 and April 2015, the suspects habitually hurled rocks and firebombs into a number of Jewish-owned homes and facilities in A-Tur.

Nobel Prize winner John Nash (86) and his wide Alicia Nash (82) were killed in a car crash on Saturday night in New Jersey.

The boys were heading to a Shavuot study session when they were attacked by the Arab terrorist.

Remarks by the President on Jewish American Heritage Month – May 22, 2015

At the ninth hour, Chabad of Dead Sea whipped together sheva brochot in 2 hours for a newly wedded tourist couple — out of nowhere.

Israel finally has a Foreign Minister who is not ashamed to say the word “God.”

An Arab language website sent a reporter, dressed as a Jew, to the streets of Cairo.

Eight years ago, an Israeli rancher from Moshav Zippori in the Lower Galilee region reached a breaking point. Thieves and marauders had been targeting Chaim Zilberman’s sprawling ranch; his land was burnt black and cattle fences cut down. On the verge of bankruptcy, the rancher told his family during a Friday Shabbat dinner one night […]

Scotland Yard said it cannot prevent the upcoming neo-Nazi march that is planned for July 4th.

A store in Rafah, Gaza displays women’s Islamic head coverings for sale.

A State Dept. official is in Israel to talk about making the region nuclear-free.

The highway at the property is a favorite spot for PA Arabs to try to throw

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu annual medical report  as written by his personal physician, Dr. Tzvi Berkovitz, states, “Blood tests were completely normal including those for sugar, cholesterol and fats. The Prime Minister’s blood pressure was normal (120/80), aided by light medication.” The reports notes that “Prime Minister Netanyahu trains several times a week at a […]

More Articles from Etta Prince-Gibson
MK Zeev Bielski

MK Zeev Bielski, chairman of the Knesset subcommittee on Israel’s home defense: “The home front is not ready. We have made improvements over the situation since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, when the home front was completely unprepared, but the situation is not good.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/is-israeli-home-front-ready-for-war-with-iran/2012/03/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: