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      War Drill: Cabinet in Secret Bunker, Knesset in Shelter

      Cabinet meets in a secret location in the Judean Hills, as part of the drill simulating war in the Middle East. Knesset hunkers down (VIDEO).
      By Gil Ronen & Hezki Ezra
      First Publish: 6/22/2011, 5:57 PM / Last Update: 6/22/2011, 10:17 PM

      Israel's Cabinet met in a secret location in the Judean Mountains Wednesday as part of the Turning Point 5 drill rehearsing a regional war. Members of the Knesset, too, took shelter when the sirens sounded at 11:00 A.M., in a sheltered zone inside the Knesset building, located behind the parliament’s plenum.

      There was little point in maintaining any secrecy about the Knesset drill, seeing as most of the Knesset’s Arab members are openly hostile to the state of Israel and have sided with its enemies.

      MK Azmi Bishara, who headed the Balad faction, escaped the country four years ago after the Shin Bet interrogated him on suspicion of passing information on possible missile targets to Hizbullah during wartime. Despite this, Israel’s High Court under President Dorit Beinisch allowed Balad and another openly hostile Arab party, Raam-Taal, to run for the Knesset in 2009. MK

      Danny Danon (Likud) used the drill as an opportunity to remind the public that in case of war, Israel’s enemies are the ones who will be in shelters. “The lesson should be taught in all of the countries around us that Israel is ready for peace and war at the same time,” he told Arutz Sheva.

      Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) said that “the Knesset Guard and rescue teams are always on alert for all possible scenarios and there are numerous protected zones throughout the building.” 

      Speaker Rivlin has consistently defended the rogue Arab MKs from sanctions over the years, insisting that attacks upon them are discriminatory. Many pundits believe that Rivlin’s position is affected by his hope that the Arab MKs will vote for him as next president of Israel when the time comes. 
       
      Some observers noted the location of the Cabinet's emergency bunker, in the Judean mountains, underscores the strategic importance of the region for Israel's defense.