web analytics
September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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.

Israela Oron, a member of Israel’s National Security Council and a retired brigadier general, said the lack of public discussion of homeland security is part and parcel of the country’s lack of preparedness.

“How can we decide if 500 people is too many or ‘acceptable’ if these numbers are not discussed in the context of other possible alternatives? There is no discussion of the price that the home front will have to pay, and whether the home front can tolerate it,” said Oron.

(JTA)

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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Palestinian Authority students in Gaza rallying for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit the enclave in 2011. (archive)
Wow! Turkey’s Erdogan to Meet Jewish, Armenian Leaders in NY!
Latest News Stories

For the first time, Hezbollah has used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to bomb its enemies in Syria.

Palestinian Authority students in Gaza rallying for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit the enclave in 2011. (archive)

Turkey’s President Erdogan is meeting with Jewish and Armenian leaders in New York — but so what?

Sukkah Building in Meah Shearim

Hareidim in Meah Shearim are wasting no time to prepare for the Sukkot holiday, even if we have to still have to first celebrate Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

Hamas Palestinian Authority Drunk Cartoon

The infighting between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is starting to get ugly. Good. Maybe that will keep them busy.

Israel may not be a favorite politically, but is moving up in the world of international baseball.

PA Chairman Abbas and Israeli PM Netanyahu reportedly are secretly talking via negotiators.

Israeli Defense Forces have foiled a Hamas terror attack set to take place in Gush Etzion on Rosh Hashana.

Harari is most famous for leading Golda Meir’s Mossad task force to kill all the Munich terrorists.

Israeli military is watching the northern border closely, waiting for the day the “changes” arrive. Rebels already control Syria’s side of the fence.

Canada will strip citizenship from those who travel abroad to join ISIS or other terrorist groups.

An Arab media outlet appears to be having issues with the closure of the Cave of the Patriarchs to Muslims over Rosh Hashana.

The days of the red cape and Superman are long gone. Now one surfs the Net and buys ISIS chotchkes to become Jihad John.

Nearly 70 years after the Nazis fell, evidence is found in Theresienstadt that life flourished even among those marked for death.

There are IDF officers whose job is to oversee all operations and endeavor to ensure the civilian population is protected.

The Cabinet has approved a massive infrastructure upgrade of Sderot and other southern Israeli communities.

Yemen, where the ‘Arab Spring’ begun, continues to be mired in turmoil and terror.

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: