Yesterday, September 13, 2016, the IDF (Zahal)’s Home Front Command successfully drilled a major evacuation exercise in northern Israel, simulating a scenario in which the majority of the Israeli towns and villages along the border with Lebanon would have to be evacuated within hours.
The exercise, named “Safe Distance,” was carried out to test our forces’ preparedness for an irregular, large-scale emergency. The Home Front Command’s Search and Rescue Unit entered Israeli communities along the border and practiced bringing civilians to safety. Part of the force simulated the evacuation of families, children, and elderly people, while another rushed injured people in ambulances to the nearest hospital.
Drilling the evacuation
Colonel Dr. Eyal Furman, medical commander in the Home Front Command, explains from the field: “There are a lot of medical efforts in exercises like this, and this is the biggest one we had so far. It’s challenging to find the right medical solutions for different populations in real time, but that’s what we’re here for.”
While Israel’s border with Lebanon has mostly remained quiet since the Second Lebanon War, our forces constantly remain poised and alert, ready to defend the Israeli population from hostile attacks.
Hezbollah, the Shiite Lebanese terror organization, maintains its stronghold on the other side of the border. The paramilitary terrorist group has been playing an integral role in the Syrian Civil War, siding with the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad against the Syrian rebel groups.
Home front drill
But they are also continuously threatening their main target – the State of Israel and its population. The terror organization has been stockpiling long-range missiles and an advanced arsenal of weapons, and the organization’s radical leader, Hassan Nasrallah, continuously threatens Israel and its civilians.
In a speech made earlier this year, Nasrallah, claimed that “Several missiles launched from [southern Lebanon] together with the ammonia containers in Haifa would lead to the same impact as a nuclear bomb.”
Our forces invest in preparing the home front for any future conflict and any threat. Exercises like Safe Distance ensure that Israeli civilians will be ready and safe in the event of an emergency, allowing ground forces to work effectively.