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We don’t wish to alarm you, but...

So said the IDF Home Front Command last week, when it announced its new campaign to prepare the Israel public for any eventuality.

As part of the campaign, a “guidebook” — available in six languages, including English — will be delivered to every household in Israel.

Tips will include how to choose a protected internal room or space (for those who do not have one built in); selecting a sealed room and preparing it; preparation of a family emergency plan and equipment for the protected room; and dealing with children, adults and people with special needs during an emergency.

The announcement came just days before the assassination of former Pakastani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, which raised the possibility of a country with nuclear weapons falling into the hands of Islamists.

The guidebook “should be read and the procedures in it followed,” the announcement stated. Israeli TV stations will begin broadcasting short instructional segments and instructional videos for children and a tutorial on how to choose a safe space will be available on the Home Front command Web site at www.oref.org.il.

All elementary schools will provide an “extensive study program” that will teach first-graders and up how to behave in an emergency situation, and will distribute a homework booklet to be filled in together with the students’ parents.

“Emergencies in general and war particularly may occur with no preparation time,” Home Front Command said. “That’s why the best time to get prepared is right now.”

Local media reported that the campaign had been planned for this past summer, when Israel was at war with Hezbollah, but that it was postponed due to fears that Syria might interpret it as a readiness plan for war.

The authorities tried to put to rest fears that war is imminent.

“It should be clarified that the campaign does not reflect any change in the security assessment or on any expected escalation,” Home Front Command said.

“Maybe not,” said a mother of four, waiting for her kids outside a Jerusalem elementary school, “but it’s not too reassuring, either. In Israel it’s always something,” she added, slipping into an imitation of the late Gilda Radner’s “Saturday Night Live” character Roseanne Roseanna Dana.

Last Update:

02/25/2010 - 12:28
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