Over 400,000 people reside in Tel Aviv,
and hundreds of thousands enter it each day, but does the city offer them sufficient protection from a possible ballistic missile strike? A review of security measures conducted in light of the looming threat of a confrontation with Syria
has yielded disconcerting findings.
While an Iron Dome
battery has recently been installed in central Israel
for training purposes, the missile defense system does not offer protection against ballistic missiles. Moreover, shelters in Tel Aviv can only house 40,000 people – a tenth of the population, Ynet has learned.
Tel Aviv residents and employees could seek cover in the fortified sections in their homes and offices; those who don't have the luxury and don't make it into their neighborhood shelter during an attack could be out of luck. A source in Home Front Command said that new shelters are no longer being built, and the authorities are not taking sufficient measures to fortify existing homes.
Sign for shelter in Tel Aviv (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
The authorities have launched an effort to map out the city's shelters, but it remains unclear when the project is set to be completed.
A source in Home Front Command confirmed that Tel Aviv has a severe shelter shortage, but refused to provide the exact data.
City Councilman Shlomo Maslawi noted that the situation is worse in Tel Aviv's southern neighborhoods, where many refugees have taken residence.
On the upside, the existing shelters are well maintained, the city's schools are fortified and emergency services hold frequent drills to practice wartime scenarios. The Municipality said that over the past few years it has invested NIS 10 million (roughly $2.5 million) in readying the city's protected areas for an emergency.
Tel Aviv shelter (Photo: Motti Kimchi)"Many of the shelters have been upgraded in accordance with the Home Front Command's standards… The city has 241 public shelters, including 111 which are equipped with air filtering systems designed to deal with chemical weapons," the Municipality said in a statement.
"The shelters may be inhabited by 40,000 people, and are being maintained and monitored by the Municipality and Home Front Command."
The shelters and fortified areas that have been installed in all the city's schools may also be used by residents.