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Photo: AFP
IDF troops at Moshav Avivim
Photo: AFP
In northern Israel, local leaders demand action on stalled security plan
As tensions flare with Hezbollah in Lebanon, municipal heads slam government's indifference, demand it 'wakes up' to reality of entire area of the population without adequate bomb shelters

Local leaders in northern Israel met Monday near the site of a Hezbollah missile strike on an IDF base a day before, demanding the government implement a stalled program to bolster fortifications for communities close to the border with Lebanon. 

 

 

The plan, which is estimated to cost NIS 5 billion, was presented a year and a half ago but frozen soon after.

 


IDF troops at Moshav Avivim (Photo: AFP)
IDF troops at Moshav Avivim (Photo: AFP)

  

According to the head of the forum of local leaders, Moshe Davidovich, tens of thousands of Israelis have no way to protect themselves in the event of an attack other than lying down on the ground and sheltering themselves with their hands.

 

The tensions in the north reached a peak on Sunday when Hezbollah fired several anti-tank missiles towards an IDF base in the area of Moshav Avivim.

 

GOC Northern Command Amir Baram, center, on the northern border (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
GOC Northern Command Amir Baram, center, on the northern border (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

 

There were no Israeli casualties, but civilians living 4 kilometers or less from the border were instructed to seek shelter and remain indoors for several hours before they were told it was safe to return to normal.

 

Amit Sofer, the head of Marom Hagalil Regional Council and host of the meeting, said Sunday's events were a reminder of the importance of increasing preparedness in the area.

 

"We need to remember that the events yesterday were on the military front. If it had been the civilian front, we all know what would have happened," he said.

 

"The plan that was formulated is a life-saver and we should implement it immediately," he said.

 

A Lebanese fire truck douses flames after IDF artillery fire on southern Lebanon (Photo: AFP)
A Lebanese fire truck douses flames after IDF artillery fire on southern Lebanon (Photo: AFP)

 

Davidovich, who is head of Mateh Asher Regional Council, said that Hezbollah was capable of causing widespread damage, and urged the govenment to take action.  

 

"We need to make decisions now," he said, "as the government's ineptitude in fortifying the north is apparent. The people are living with no adequate shelter, Hezbollah has the tools it needs to cause a lot of destruction and casualties in the area.

 

"We are committed to the protection of our people and call for the government to get itself together," he said.

 

 

IDF roadblocks near the Lebanon border on Sunday
IDF roadblocks near the Lebanon border on Sunday

 

Meanwhile, Giora Zeltz, the head of the Upper Galilee Regional Council, also warned of an impending disaster.

 

"There's a real dissonance between the government's claims and its actions," he said. "According to the government, more than 100,000  missiles are expected to land from Rosh Hanikra (in the west) all the way to Mount Hermon (on the Golan Heights). Think about the day when those missiles fall on populated areas."

 

He added: "More than 50% of the people in these areas don’t have shelters, and when a major event happens there will be hundreds of thousands with no shelter to protect them. We're talking about a very large area with zero response time. We need to fortify all the public and educational buildings by the end of 2020. With all the stupidity floating around, nothing is happening."

 

 Giora Zeltz (Photo: Aviahu Shapira)
Giora Zeltz (Photo: Aviahu Shapira)

 

Oded Forer of Israel Beytenu told Ynet on Monday that the fortification plan was neglected without his party leader Avigdor Liberman at the Defense Ministry, and that the blame for inaction should be placed on the Netanyahu-led government.

 

"Liberman transferred NIS 5 billion to the government while he was minister of defense, and the plan was abandoned the day he left the ministry," Forer said. "it needs to be said that fortifying the north is very low on the government's agenda, in contrast to what is actually needed and funded.

 

"The responsibility is in the hands of the prime minister first and foremost. Apparently, the north is less important than other areas."

 


פרסום ראשון: 09.02.19, 22:32
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