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Protecting the Home Front

June 4, 2012
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There’s a reason for such preparation. To the north, Syria is commonly believed to hold a significant chemical weapon stockpile, and amid the current chaos in the country, it is feared such weapons could reach Hizbullah in Lebanon. To the east, Iran’s nuclear weapons program isn’t the only worry. Pakistan is a nuclear power, and other Arab states are considering the prospect. Chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons have been either pursued or possessed by a host of Israel’s enemies (Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Libya), and terrorists would doubtless be interested in acquiring such weapons of mass destruction.

 So Israel is forced to prepare, even when a threat is not imminent or expected. Back in November, when most were thinking about Iran’s nuclear program or Syria’s chemical weapons, the Ministry of Defense, including the Home Front Command, simulated a biological terror attack in the country’s North. The drill, dubbed “Orange Flame 6,” brought together not only the military, but also multiple hospitals, police and fire services, and even the Water Authority. The exercise included testing capabilities for treatment centers able to care for approximately 5,000 patients per day. Overall, the drill included both preventative treatment and care for those already showing symptoms of the contagious disease. In Israel, it’s more than a movie plot.

Brig. Gen. Ze’ev Snir, Assistant Minister of Defense for CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) Defense said in a press release, “The State of Israel is at the global forefront of preparedness for such events. However, we are committed to continuously testing ourselves in order to increase and improve both our capabilities and preparedness for the array of potential challenges that we could face.”

And Orange Flame 6 isn’t the only drill aimed at nonconventional attacks. The press release noted that a radiological attack drill was planned that would simulate a dirty bomb attack. Another drill occurred in March. The IDF Blog reported that exercise simulated unconventional attacks in central Israel with chemical or biological weapons. The training included on-scene treatment of severe burns and evacuation of the wounded to medical facilities. “Such drills are commonly held,” reported Col. Avi Abargil, commander of the Home Front Command’s medical services. “We strive to be always as prepared as possible for any scenario, conventional or not.”

Unconventional threats loom largest, although the thousands of missiles surrounding Israel mean that traditional dangers have to be considered too. The 2006 Second Lebanon War exposed the scope to which Israel’s home front was at risk. If Saddam Hussein’s SCUD missiles in the Gulf War in 1990 helped encourage Israel to launch the Home Front Command, the month-long terrorization of Israel’s North at the hands of Hizbullah’s missiles during the Lebanon war showed the need for the national annual civil defense exercises called “Turning Point.”

There are a number of factors to consider in the “Turning Point” drills. The fifth one, held in 2011, was to include simulating damage to Israel’s electricity and water infrastructure, according to The Jerusalem Post. The IDF Blog noted that a chemical missile attack was also a factor, while air raid sirens gave the civilians the opportunity to evacuate to bomb shelters. Such exercises are done with the hope they won’t happen, but with the realization they could.

In comments earlier this year on Israel’s home front defense, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “This is part of our ongoing activity in recent years to prepare Israel for a new era that we all recognize, an era of threats to the Israeli home front. I know that great efforts have been made and are yet to be made.” In Israel, home may be sweet, but preparation for its defense can never be short.

Bridges for Peace Is Preparing Too

The BFP Karmiel Assistance Center
Photo by Will King
In light of the disaster preparations of the state of Israel, Bridges for Peace has also prepared for potential disaster. We constantly keep about 500 tons of food stored for times of disaster, whether that would be war or a major earthquake. In northern Israel, we are part of the War Preparedness Committee in Karmiel.

Recently, we had an Army engineer come in and evaluate our facilities to ensure we provide the best protection for our team and anyone who happens to be visiting. As a result of this inspection, we are purchasing four freestanding bomb shelters for our Headquarters and Karmiel Assistance Center. Our Jerusalem Assistance Center has a bomb shelter in the building.

With the help of a large church in the United States a few years ago, we purchased gas masks for the volunteer staff in Israel. At the beginning of the year, we had the masks inspected and updated. Some were not viable any longer, and those have now been replaced.

Yeshua (Jesus) told us, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing” (Matt.24:45–46).

At Bridges for Peace, we desire to receive the Lord’s approval and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” We plan to be here to feed the people of Israel, even if it is in difficult times of war or earthquake. We deeply appreciate the prayers and support of God’s people worldwide.

Source: Protecting the Home Front by Joshua Spurlock, The Mideast Update

Source: Bridges for Peace Is Preparing Too by Rebecca J. Brimmer, International President and CEO

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