Deputy Minister of Defense Matan Vilnai participated Wednesday morning in a readiness exercise for an earthquake scenario in Akko (Acre).
"I want to remind you of the earthquake we experienced in October 1973 – a man-made earthquake,” he said – referring to the Yom Kippur War. “Just as we were surprised then, in a real earthquake that comes from nature we will be more surprised,” he warned.
"We will not be able to depend on the fighting spirit of people on the ground,” Vilnai added. “Rather, we will have to be prepared and trained for tough situations in which the local authorities will have to function independently for many days.”
"Yesterday I visited Tzfat [Safed] and Tveryah [Tiberias] and I was glad to see a much better state of preparedness than in the Second Lebanon war,” he said. “We need to be ready for every possible scenario, not just military but also natural disasters like earthquakes.”
In mid-2008, increased seismic activity in Israel's north led the government to begin preparing for the possibility of a major earthquake. At the time, Geophysical Institute of Israel director Rami Hopsteter advised Israelis to do what they could to ensure that their surroundings were safe in case of earthquake.
In September 2009, Israel conducted the first successful test on a system designed to protect schoolchildren in case of an earthquake. If the "earthquake cage" device passes future tests, it may be installed in schools throughout the country.