Daily Israel Report

Vilna'i: We Can Cut Expected Casualties in Iran War by 90%

Outgoing Minister Matan Vilna'i says that if Israel follows through on Homefront Command defense plans, fewer will die in a regional war
By David Lev
First Publish: 8/16/2012, 11:37 AM

Minister Matan Vilnai
Minister Matan Vilnai
Flash 90

Outgoing Homefront Command Minister and Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i wrote Thursday that, if a regional war does take place if and when Israel attacks Iran's nuclear facilities, the country was well-prepared to face threats posed by Hizbullah and Hamas. As Homefront Command Minister, Vilna'i wrote, he has drawn up detailed plans that would ensure that the vast majority of Israelis, as well as most of Israel's infrastructure, survive an attack by terror groups and Iran. Those plans, he wrote, could cut the expected number of casualties from a possible regional war by 90%

The document was a summation of the activities of Vilna'i as Homefront Command Minister, the post he was named to in 2011, as well as his activities in the Defense Ministry since 2007. Many of the plans that he drew up for home front safety – including distribution of gas masks and reinforcement of schools and other public buildings – have been adopted, but more needs to be done. Vilna'i is leaving the Homefront Command, as he has been appointed Israel's ambassador to China. The new Homefront Command Minister, Avid Dichter, was sworn in on Thursday morning.

With bigger budgets for the Homefront Command, Vilna'i wrote, Israel could ensure that more of its residents will be able to survive a regional war that most experts believe will take place if Israel or the U.S. attack Iran's nuclear facilities. Iran itself may or may not strike back, the experts said, but Hamas and Hizbullah almost certainly would. Between the two of them, the terror groups have tens of thousands of missiles aimed at Israeli population centers and infrastructure, and they are likely to fire them if Iran is attacked. In addition, Iran, Syria, or the terror groups themselves could attack Israel with chemical weapons.

Going on the theory that the home front will become the front lines in the event of such a war, Vilna'i wrote that he embarked on a program that would defend Israelis residents and infrastructure. Some of the innovations are security secrets, while others, including mass distribution of gas mask kits, were public knowledge. Vilna'i said that he had managed to secure budgets to provide 60% of Israelis with the kits, but that more money would be needed to expand the program.

If the plans that are already in place are brought to fruition, Vilna't wrote, many more Israelis will survive a regional war. Currently, security experts believe that, based on current security measures, one person on average will be killed for every thousand missiles fired at Israel. Vilna'i wrote that he believed that Israel could reduce that number to one casualty for every 10,000 rockets, if the plans already in progress are completed.