More than 4,500 Hamas rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel during Operation Protective Edge, but due to the dedicated work of thousands of soldiers, Israel’s civilian casualty rate remained low.
The reason that the number of Israeli civilian casualties was relatively low during the 50 days of Operation Protective Edge, is because the IDF (Zahal)’s top priority is to defend and protect Israeli civilians. Unlike Hamas, who uses Gaza’s civilians as human shields, the IDF (Zahal) is constantly investing in saving lives in every possible way. The following are four of the IDF (Zahal)’s most crucial life-saving systems.
1. Real Time Alerts
The amount of time Israelis have to take shelter when a rocket is fired
Alerting civilians that a rocket is heading towards them is the first layer of defense that the IDF (Zahal) provides. “First of all people need to know that a rocket was fired at them, so they know to run for cover,” explains Lt. Col. Itach Levi, the commander of the Home Front’s First Response Branch. “The alert has to reach everyone, it must give civilians time to take cover, it must be solely directed towards the targeted civilians, and it must be accurate and trustworthy – no false alarms.”
2. Aerial Rocket Interception – The Iron Dome
Throughout Operation Protective Edge more than 750 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome Missile Defense System. The Iron Dome has the ability to detect where a rocket is going to land, and only intercept rockets heading towards populated areas. Therefore, every rocket intercepted by the system would have hit a civilian populated area, potentially causing severe damage and casualties.
3. Preparing The Public
The IDF (Zahal) regularly prepares the public for cases of rocket fire. These preparations took place both before and during Operation Protective Edge. “We provide life saving instructions of what to do when the rocket sirens go off,” explains the commander of the Home Front Command’s Publicity Branch, Lt. Col. Tal Michaelovitch. “We have a special explainer for every audience – children, orthodox Jews, blind people, Druze, Arabs, every single part of the public.”
Here’s one of the many instructional videos, used by the Home Front Command to address the public:
4. Emergency Medical Treatment
The National Medical Command Center (NMCC) operates 24/7 and is always prepared to react to emergency situations. During Operation Protective Edge, the center treated injured soldiers as well as civilians. Medical officers in the center are constantly ready to respond quickly to any event in the Home Front, including non-conventional combat such as chemical, atomic or biological warfare.