"Middle East turmoil far from stabilizing"

Home Front Command chief says rocket threat is growing; outlines steps Israel has taken to improve civil defense

Date: 01/12/2011, 10:19 AM     Author: Rotem Pesso

“We are in the midst of regional turmoil in the Middle East that [the region] has not known for many years,” Major General Eyal Eizenberg, head of the Home Front Command, said on Wednesday (November 30), during an address at the annual conference of the heads of Israel’s regional councils. “This turmoil is far from stabilizing.”

In his remarks, Maj. Gen. Eizenberg discussed the unrest in the Middle East as well as the importance of Israel’s national resiliency in emergency situations, both in the near and distant futures.

Maj. Gen. Eizenberg referred to the democratic processes some Arab nations are going through following revolutions. Those revolutions, according to Maj. Gen. Eizenberg, were made possible by social networking.

Maj. Gen. Eizenberg also talked about changes on the battlefield and the implications of these changes for Israel’s civil defense system.

“In the past, Israel was required to face decisive challenges in wars or operational events,” Maj. Gen. Eizenberg said. “Today, terrorist efforts are of a different pattern, the approach of erosion and attrition. “In this situation, the home front is the weakest and most problematic component.”

Maj. Gen. Eizenberg said that since the Second Lebanon War, during which around 4,000 rockets were fired at Israel, the enemy has realized the potential of rockets and has worked to strengthen the threat posed to Israel by rockets.

“Missiles are pointed at Israel and the home front and they can be launched at any given moment,” Maj. Gen. Eizenberg said. “Their quantity, deadliness, range and accuracy are increasing.”

Maj. Gen. Eizenberg outlined a number of steps that Israel has taken to improve its readiness and preparedness for emergency scenarios, including an increase in the number of sirens and the creation of a reliable and precise early warning system.