This week, all eyes were on the developing situation concerning a potential Israeli strike on Iran. There are those who seem to be for it, and those who oppose it. But regardless of the politics, the different angles or opinions -- the Israeli military seems to be covering its grounds and preparing for the worst case scenario. Last week, the IDF Home front Command tested a new emergency text message system which is meant to notify Israeli residents of a potential attack and allow communication between the military and the Israeli population via their cellphones. During the test, which was first of its kind, text messages were sent to citizens' mobile phones in different parts of the country. However, the test showed only partial success with many Israelis receiving several consecutive messages and with others, not having received any at all.
The home front command will be analyzing the results of this unique test in upcoming days, however; in any case, the personal messages will be sent in addition to the siren system which would operate across the country if and when people will be required to go into shelters. The Israeli government is undergoing changes as well. Recently, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed former head of the Shin Bet and Kadima Member of Knesset Avi Dichter to act as new Minister of the Home Front. His nomination came following an Israeli media buzz questioning the readiness of the country for an attack, most specifically the fact that a large percentage of Israelis do not have gas masks.
Therefore, out on the Israeli streets, many citizens around the country are contacting the Home Front Command in order to acquire and refresh their gas masks. Shopping centers and other such centralized areas were chosen as pick-up locations for Israelis who were issued new mask kits, which would be used in the event of biological or chemical attacks. According to a recent survey, about 60% of Jewish Israelis oppose an Israeli strike without U.S. cooperation. And yet still, with all options on the table, many Israelis are making sure to renovate their safe rooms at home, and verify that their local underground bomb shelters are well-found. And so, even though no war has been declared, no decisions have been made, and no military activity has actually taken place, the Israeli population is gearing up for what may lie ahead.
Sivan Raviv, JN1, Israel.