"One million Israeli civilians maintain routine life under threat"

Head of Homefront Command’s southern district talks about recent spate of rocket fire from Gaza

Date: 22/08/2011, 7:28 PM     Author: Yarin Hananiya

The recent events on the Israel-Egypt border and the threat of rockets fired by terrorists in the Gaza Strip have placed the lives of the one million residents of Israel’s southern region under existential threat.

While the Iron Dome anti-rocket system has been successful in intercepting a number of rockets over the past few days, it is necessary that southern residents abide by the civil defense instructions given by the Homefront Command.

“In order to save lives, Homefront Command instructions must be heeded as part of routine life,” Col. Doron Mor Yosef, head of the Homefront Command’s southern district. “We are in the midst of summer vacation, so there are many events and festivals planned in advance by local authorities. Having no choice, we had to cancel large events, in order to ensure the well-being of residents.”

Col. Mor Yosef said that during recent events the Homefront Command’s focus was on giving guidance to southern residents on seeking shelter, providing warnings of impending rocket attacks and assisting in providing protection to neighborhoods that had previously lacked proper sheltered space.

Col. Mor. Yosef said that Homefront Command soldiers were deployed to aid the population in a number of ways. Among other missions, Homefront Command soldiers cleaned up shelters that had been closed in recent months, supported local municipalities and government offices in responding to events and responded to media inquiries related to what was occurring.

As part of its efforts, the Homefront Command transferred the neonatal ward of Be’er Sheva’s Soroka Hospital to a protected space and also provided maintenance and care for the shelters of various local authorities.

“We received many volunteers to help,” Col. Mor Yosef said. “Requests from northern residents arrived offering to host southern residents for the near future. The mobilization and sense of solidarity warmed our hearts.”