Can a Country Get Ready For Major Attacks on its Cities? The...

Can a Country Get Ready For Major Attacks on its Cities? The Israeli Situation

Can a country better prepare for major terror attacks, including the firing of rockets with large warheads?   Judging by the state of things in Israel, the answer is no.

The situation here is as follows. If tomorrow a rocket with a big warhead hits central Tel Aviv, the fundamental problem will be that nobody is charge. Police, Firefighters, Home Front Command, medical evacuation (Red Magen David), municipal emergency services – all will rush to the site. But who is coordinating their actions in the chaos? Who is the “supreme commander?”

Another crucial problem we witnessed during the recent national emergency drills – Home Front Command engineering equipment is not sufficient to move debris in an effort to save people that were trapped under rubbles. In fact, even the military heavily relies on equipment of private companies. In a recent drill, it took two hours to deploy  a “rescue cage” to rescue people from high risers.

Another problem is obsolecenc – some of the firefighters equipment stored in the different cities is very old. Part of the stocks date back to the 1970’s. Moreover, many people are not equipped with the gas masks distributed by the home front command. This is a huge problem because there is no way that the people who don’t have them, will get them in an emergency process during war. Whether its lack of budget, or simply bad planning, this is an unacceptable situation.

Situational awareness is another gap to be addressed. In recent years municipalities have deployed security cameras that cover large urban areas. However, when such cameras are covering neighboring cities, video feeds are not available to control centers of the other city, as the municipal command centers are not connected to a central hub where a common operating picture and dispatch of emergency forces.

Cross communications is lacking even at the tactical level. The different rescue forces on scene are not able to communicate with each other. Each force has its own communication system and protocols.

The idea to make all civilian rescue services operate under some form of emergency military body was not carried out. Many things have been improved but at the bottom line the situation is still very worrying. To sum it up – Israel is not ready to handle massive attacks on its population.

By Arik Kudler Lt. Col (Res.)
Arik Kudler Lt. Col (Res.)
Arik Kudler Lt. Col (Res.) served in the IDF between 1973 and 1984, as a LT. Colonel in the Reserve Corps. Kudler studied in Bar Ilan University, graduated B.A. in Political Sciences and Criminology and received his M.A. in Public Policy from the Tel-Aviv University