The IDF’s Home Front Command has begun distribution of a color-coded map that divides Israel into regions based on the residents’ distance from the nearest terror army. The map provides graphic confirmation of the fact that every Israeli is under missile threat from either Hizbullah in the north or Hamas in Gaza, or from both.
The Home Front Command launched a public campaign centering on the map and the slogan “protect yourself right on time.” The campaign will culminate in the largest-ever nationwide emergency drill, dubbed “Turning Point 3,” which is scheduled for late May. The campaign includes TV and radio spots, magnetic maps for home refrigerators and information on the Command's website.
The map divides Israel into 27 regions that are grouped into five ‘belts,’ based on the distance from Hizbullah’s missile array. The ‘belts’ are differentiated by the amount of time residents will have to scurry for shelter after a warning siren sounds. While the northernmost areas like Kiryat Shemona or the Golan Heights must find shelter immediately, the residents of Tel Aviv have the “luxury” of a two-minute interlude between the siren and the expected crash of missiles. Residents of Jerusalem and the south – all the way to Eilat – have three minutes.
In addition, four belts have been marked out in the area surrounding Gaza. Residents of the belt directly bordering on Gaza have 15 seconds to enter the shelters, whereas residents of Be’er Sheva have 60 seconds.
The nationwide drill is scheduled to begin in government offices and will culminate several days later in a nationwide siren alert, in which all Israelis will be expected to find shelter.
Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan, Chief of Home Front Command, said Thursday that while there is no alert or concrete information regarding a missile attack, “we are preparing for the main threats. It is clear to all of us that if you take the overall threats on the State of Israel, there is no place in the country that is not under threat.”
Both Hizbullah in southern Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza are considered to be proxy forces operating under the direct influence of Iran. Hamas was able to take over Gaza after Israel pulled out of that area in 2005. Hizbullah took over southern Lebanon after Israel withdrew from there in 2000. Both proxy militias are expected to take part in an attack on Israel, should Israel and Iran reach a confrontation. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continually talks about wiping Israel off the map, and Israel maintains the right to a military option if diplomatic efforts do not stop the Islamic Republic's nuclear development program.
The Home Front Command expects distribution of protection kits - including new gas masks and drugs against unconventional weapons - to begin in November. It warns, however, that the process could take at least two years.