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Israelis feel prepared for missile attack, but not safe — poll

Over 90% say they know what to do in an emergency, only 25% say they would feel safe during a rocket barrage

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

Illustrative photo of IDF Home Front Command soldiers participating in a drill as part of a nationwide exercise at the Yuvali HaNegev school in the Bnei Shimon regional council in southern Israel, on February 15, 2016. (Flash90)
Illustrative photo of IDF Home Front Command soldiers participating in a drill as part of a nationwide exercise at the Yuvali HaNegev school in the Bnei Shimon regional council in southern Israel, on February 15, 2016. (Flash90)

A new study by the Israeli military shows that although a large majority of Israelis feel confident about how to react to a large-scale missile attack on the country, such a scenario could still generate wide-scale panic.

The study, by the Defense Ministry’s National Emergency Authority, was released Sunday at the start of National Emergency Week, during which government ministries, local authorities, and emergency services will review procedures and practice cooperation in dealing with a large-scale attack on the country.

The overwhelming majority of respondents — 92 percent — said they had a reasonable to great understanding of what to do in the case of massive missile attack.

Yet, while many believe they would know how to react, only 25% of the respondents said they would feel safe during such an attack. According to the survey, citizens of the south, who have suffered the brunt of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip over the past eight years, were more likely to feel safe during an attack (33%) than the rest of the population (25%).

In the scenario of a large-scale missile attack, the study, which sampled 500 people over the age of 18, found that much of the country was likely to shut down. While only 14% of respondents said they would leave their homes, 67% said they would not go to work and just 9% said they would send their children to school.

Illustrative photo of schoolchildren taking cover as part of an IDF Home Front Command drill simulating a bomb attack, May 27, 2013 (photo credit: Sarah Schuman/ Flash90)
Illustrative photo of schoolchildren taking cover as part of an IDF Home Front Command drill simulating a bomb attack, May 27, 2013 (Sarah Schuman/ Flash90)

Most people (63%) responded that they would have a good idea of what to do in an attack, and 90% said they already know which room or safe space in their homes they would retreat into during a rocket emergency. A third (33%) revealed they had already prepared some or all of the recommended emergency items for an attack. The IDF Home Front Command recommends each household prepare basic supplies including water, flashlights, means of communication, and a first aid kit.

Were such an emergency situation to develop, 54% of respondents said they would like to receive important updates through the WhatsApp instant messaging application.

Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror groups have both fired rockets deep into Israeli territory reaching as far into the country as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa.

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