Vilnai. 'One of a kind drill'
Golan. 'Don't take Lebanon commotion seriously'
Photo: Avi Rokach

Home Front drill attracts dozens of foreign spectators

Some 100 representatives from 30 countries arrive in Israel to observe Turning Point 4 exercise

A record number of representatives from foreign militaries, interational organizations, government ministries and emergency units arrived in Israel this week to observe and take part in the Home Front Command drill, "Turning Point 4."


Some 100 representatives from 30 countries - including the US, Japan, China, Brazil, India, Germany and France - came to learn from Israel's emergency layout. In addition, envoys from the United Nations, European Union, NATO and the US's Federal Emergency Management Agency visited Israel to observe the drill.


"Several months ago we distributed invitations to countries and organizations for the drill via government ministries and emergency units," Kobi Wimisberg, head of the visitors directorate in the National Emergency Management Authority told Ynet.


"Professionals in the emergency field showed great interest," he noted.


Wimisberg added that he did not receive any unusual requests from countries which do not hold diplomatic relations with Israel, such as Iran.


He explained that military forces have become more and more involved in handling emergency situations prompting great willingness on the part of foreign representatives to observe the comprehensive exercise.


"The drill features all ranks, from the decision making rank to conduct at kindergartens during emergency situations," he added.


The foreign guests also held an un-related tour of Israeli sites such as Jerusalem's Old City and Yad Vashem. Later this week they are scheduled to visit the Home Front Command headquarters in Sderot, attend a chemical drill in the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa and observe a rescue exercise.


Unprecedented operation

Despite attempts to calm tensions in neighboring countries, Israeli officials continued to describe the drill as an unprecedented operation of international proportion.


"This is a one of a kind exercise in the world," Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said Monday. "Israel is the only country which simultaneously drills security forces, hundreds of local authorities, dozens of organizations and thousands of volunteers," he added.


The exercise prompted Hezbollah to raise alertness and recruit several thousand operatives for that end.


Home Front Command chief Major-General Yair Golan commented on the Lebanese reponse on Monday and said, "Israel should not take the commotion surrounding it or the reactions from Lebanon too seriously." 


He further added, "There is nothing calmer than the drill, this is how a serious and mature nation conducts itself - by staring threats straight in the face."


פרסום ראשון: 05.25.10, 00:40
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