IDF launches nationwide exercise, including mock rocket attack
Army looking to improve its emergency response capabilities; says drill planned in advance, unrelated to specific security threats
Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.
The Israel Defense Forces launched a large-scale emergency preparedness exercise on Sunday, which will include nationwide tests of the incoming rocket alert system on Tuesday morning and evening, the army said.
The exercise, which is being led by the IDF’s General Staff, is aimed at improving the military’s ability to mobilize in response to crises, as well as the ability of local governments and individual citizens to do so. It will include a national drill by the Home Front Command, known as “Solid Stand.”
As part of the Home Front Command exercise, incoming rocket sirens will sound on Tuesday at 11:05 a.m. and 7:05 p.m. across the country.
In the case of an actual rocket attack, the sirens will sound twice.
When the alarms are activated, Israelis are instructed to respond as though they were real and make their way to the closest bomb shelter, the army said.
Schools and kindergartens will also take part in the morning siren exercise, with teachers taking students to protective areas. Government offices, IDF bases and public buildings will also participate in the drill.
“The goal of setting off the alarms is to practice the general public having to enter bomb shelters in their workplaces and homes, as well as to check that the national siren system is in working order,” the IDF said in a statement.
In addition to the sirens, alerts will be broadcast on television, websites and the Home Front Command’s application, as well as in special beepers for people with hearing disabilities.
Over the course of the coming week, residents can expect to see increased troop movements, the army said.
The internal General Staff exercise is meant to improve communication between units of the army during war-time. Meanwhile, the Home Front Command exercise will test not only the army’s search and rescue units, but also the ability of local governments and civilian emergency services to work together in times of crisis, the army said.
“The exercise presents an additional opportunity to prepare the general public for emergency situations, to test different systems and inter-agency cooperation, and to improve preparedness and the ways of defending the home front in a crisis,” the IDF said.
The IDF stressed that the drill is not connected to any specific security situation, nor is it related to the ongoing Juniper Cobra missile defense exercise that the army is currently conducting with the United States.