Tel Aviv Municipality is not taking any chances. On the backdrop of the tense security situation and the extension of the "special situation" in the home front status that has been declared in many of the southern towns, the city of Tel Aviv decided to prepare for the worst-case scenario – a state of emergency in Tel Aviv.
It has been made known to Ynet that city officials began posting notices detailing instructions for a state of emergency and activating shelters in the hundreds of high-rise buildings throughout the city Thursday morning.
This week a long list of preparatory steps to be taken in case such a scenario arises was authorized in a special sitting of the city council. These steps included preparing all public shelters, emptying out indoor shelters within the educational institutions, setting up a war room, and increasing water supplies in case of emergency.
"We don't want to induce panic, but we want to be prepared," said the chairman of the municipal security committee.
Some may say that this is a premature step, but the Tel Aviv Municipality is taking no chances in light of a report that examined the state of the city's shelters during the Second Lebanon War, indicating that some of these shelters were unusable, occupied, or contaminated.
Tel Aviv's Deputy Director General Robby Zalouf clarified that there is currently no direct threat on the city of Tel Aviv that would necessitate such preparations according to the Home Front Command, yet they are preparing the city as if it would have to withstand a state of emergency. As such, all municipal shelters will be examined to ensure that they are prepared for use within four hours. In addition, a list of "alternate shelters" within underground garages will be made and published for the public.
Acting Chairman of the Committee for States of Emergency, Dr. Moshe Tyomkin, clarified, "We cannot ignore the fact that the rocket firing has reached cities close to Tel Aviv, such as Yavne and Ashkelon. There is an implicit threat of rocket barrages in the north, which is the main threat for the city, and an additional threat that is quite real – disturbances and violent protests by Arab Israelis, including residents of Jaffa. We must be prepared and ready."
Another situation that arose in during discussions is that Tel Aviv will be required to absorb evacuees from the south of the country if the situation escalates. On this front, it was decided to recruit volunteers and prepare to absorb evacuees in community centers throughout the city.
In such a scenario, the city will prepare in two stages, during the first of which the city will absorb 500 evacuees and 1000 evacuees in the second. Due to potential disturbances of the peace in Jaffa, the police have recommended that no evacuees from the south be absorbed in this area.