Israel’s Population is Always Ready: September 20th National Drill

School children hurry to shelters as sirens sound throughout Israel at 11:05 AM as part of a of an IDF Home Front Command drill simulating an attack on the country. June 2, 2015. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The saying “always be ready for the worst” seems to be the golden rule in Israel. That can be said also about security measures on a national level. From time to time, Israel’s Home Front Command, or PEEKOOD HA-OREF, a division of the Israel Defense Froces (IDF), announces a National Drill, in which all the population should know how to be ready for almost any type of emergency. Sirens, walking or running to the nearest bunker or safe room – all that is done in a “rehearsal” mode, so when the real thing happens, people are not taken too much by surprise, and know what do to.

And the “real thing” happened, but people were ready… most people. During the 2014 Protective Edge war, or as some still dub it “operation”, between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization which controls Gaza Strip, we were able to see how effective these drills can be. Yes, there were some problems here and there (locked bunkers in Kfar Saba in the first night the missiles came to our direction), but all in all it was very good to see how people calmly walked or ran to the safe areas.

On September 20th, Israel will have another national drill, covering all the country. So if you are visiting, don’t panic! Just follow the instructions and ASK people where to go.

Here is the time table given by the Home Front Command, with the locations where the sirens will sound:

11:05AM – Golan Heights, all the locations along the Northern borders, Upper Galilee, Katzrin, Jordan Valley,

11:07AM – Haifa city and region, including the Kryiot, Lower Galilee, Carmel Beach, Carmel Forest, Jezreel Valey, Tavor Mount area, Beit Shean Valley Menashe region and Wadi Ara.

11:09AM – Hefer Valley, Sharon Area which includes Raanana, Kfar Saba, Netania; Yarkon Area, Dan Area which includes Tel Aviv and surrounding cities; Hashfelah and South Shflah (Rehovot, Rishon Le Tzion, etc)

11:11AM –Jerusalem and surroundings, Beit Shemesh, Maaleh Adumim, Dead Sea, Shomron (Samaria), Yehuda (Judea), and Jordan River Valley.

11:13AM – in the area around Gaza Strip, or as the National Home Front wrote it, “Gaza Containment Zone”

11:15AM – all the Southern region: Lachish area, Central Neguev (Beer Sheva and surroundings), Aravah and Eilat.

An additional and final siren will sound throughout Israel in the evening at 7:05PM.

PLEASE NOTE that in case of REAL LIFE emergency, an additional siren will sound, but differently.

Israel’s National Home Front office recommends that you simply walk to the pre-designated safe area at home or work.

For more information, see the Home Front Command.

Video of drill in 2010 people walking few floors underground to anti-bomb bunker – Tel Aviv.

[Video by Rachel Scapa]

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Rachel (Rachely) Scapa, studied journalism at the Open University TLV under Yedioth Aharonoth's journalist Dudi Goldman. Rachel served as news correspondent for various radio stations abroad, including BBC 3 Counties and Voice of America, both in English and Portuguese, giving the best reports from Israel. Currently she has two radio shows - one in Portuguese, which she has had for more than 13 years, presenting News from Israel and the ME. In the other, in Hebrew, she presents Brazilian music, on an Israeli radio station. Rachely is also a columnist for a Christian newspaper in Brazil, distributed over the triple border between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.