The Home Front Command
and the US and Israeli militaries will hold separate drills
which will begin at the same time at the end of October.
The Home Front Command will hold its annual drill, Turning Point
6, while the US military and IDF
will launch joint military maneuvers.
Home Front drill will simulate an earthquake scenario but will also include Home Front Command, fire and rescue services, police and Magen David Adom drills which will simulate disaster sites as a result of rocket attacks.
Home Front Command drill in 2010
The military drill which has been called the "biggest drill both armies have ever held" will simulate a rocket attack on Israel.
The date of both the drills was postponed several times over the past year. Military sources explained that "there was no link between the two drills and the overlapping dates are a coincidence."
Home Front Command Chief Brigadier General Eyal Eisenberg commented on the symmetry of the two emergency scenarios last week: "The newspaper headlines are focusing on Iran but earthquakes are also national disasters. If we know how to get through that scenario we will be ready for any challenge."
The military drill "Austere Challenge 12,"
will include deployment of a variety of advanced American aerial defense systems which are supposed to dramatically improve the way Israel
deals with missile and rocket barrages and will serve as reinforcements for the Iron Dome and Arrow 2 systems (which are meant to intercept long range missiles).
Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter, whose ministry is responsible for the "Turning Point 6" drill said that the date of the national emergency week was determined six months ago: "The purpose of the military drill is preparing the State of Israel for the first time for the consequences of an earthquake with all its repercussions."
Speaking last week at a meeting with senior Home Front Command officials, Dichter said: "Our goal is to contain the threat so that if we decide to launch an assault – we do it at a convenient time for us. Happily, we have yet to go through a mass casualty catastrophic event that includes hundreds or thousands of fatalities.
"We must do everything within our power to prevent that kind of catastrophe, even if its missiles that will get through the defensive layers we've constructed," Dichter added.