Home Front Drill
Photo: Courtesy of the IDF Spokesman's Unit

Ministers miss Home Front drill over filibuster

Elements in Prime Minister's Office blame opposition for cancellation of Political-Security Cabinet members' participation in Turning Point 4 exercise. Ministers forced to spend early morning in Knesset plenum instead of observing operations in Home Front Command HQ

While state leaders continuously urge civilians to cooperate with the Home Front Command drill, the Political-Security Cabinet announced Tuesday that its members will not attend the Turning Point 4 exercise.


Elements in the Prime Minister's Office blamed the opposition for refusing to facilitate the ministers' schedules, who were forced to report to the Knesset early in the morning. A filibuster was being held in the plenum over opposition to the coalition's plan of increasing government spending.


According to the original plan, the cabinet members were scheduled to spend the morning in the Home Front Command headquarters and observe operations under a state of war.


The Israel Defense Forces were outraged over the cancellation. A security element told Ynet it was in poor judgment for the cabinet to decide not to take part in such an important exercise.


On Monday, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai described the drill as an unprecedented operation – even in international standards.


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


Foreign spectators

Due to the special nature of the drill a record number of representatives from foreign militaries, international organizations, government ministries and emergency units arrived in Israel this week to observe and take part in 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.


The drill is scheduled to culminate on Wednesday at 11 am with a siren alert being heard across the country signaling residents to find a fortified space.


Dozens of local authorities were given a series of scenarios they were required to handle, all under a simulation of rigorous fighting for a period of over two weeks. Under the general scenario the Home Front suffers a growing number of casualties significantly higher than those in the front.  


Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 05.25.10, 12:19
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