Following the escalation on the northern border, residents of Kiryat Shmona, Nahariya and Kfar Vradim were ordered to go into shelters and secured rooms Wednesday evening. The defense establishment was concerned that Hizbullah would escalate the situation by firing Katyusha rockets and instructed the citizens to take shelter.
The massive attack by Hizbullah did not come as a surprise for most of the northern residents. As far as they were concerned, the calm that has prevailed in the years since the IDF pulled out of Lebanon was illusory, and they claimed they have stated as much repeatedly.
"Once the incident started, I said 'here we go.' I knew it was coming," said chairman of the Border Communities Committee Eitan Davidi.
Davidi and other community leaders admitted they had gotten used to the calm since the IDF's withdrawal from Lebanon, but claimed they kept asking that the region be recognized by the government as a priority and receive budget for the maintenance of shelters and the upkeep of alert teams.
Gaza-border communities came first
"Every time I spoke to the Home Front Command and asked for a budget for maintenance of shelters I was told, 'your area is quiet right now. We need the budget for the communities that surround Gaza.' No one understood that the calm was misleading," said head of the Mevo'ot Hermon Regional Council, Benny Ben Movhar.
"Those who thought that Hizbullah would sit by idly – were proven wrong. Their relentless preparation and today's events are examples of what we may face if we hit them hard and damage their infrastructure," he added.
All communities in the region received instructions to stay in shelters and children were rushed back from summer camp. "The psychological effect on the children who are hardly aware of the situation is severe. I expect the Israeli government to show understanding and shake the Lebanese ground, damage their infrastructure so it takes them many years to rebuild it," said Davidi.
Sharon Roffe-Ofir contributed to the report