Experts estimate that when Hezbollah launches its Iranian-backed war with Israel, the Jewish State can expect 1,500 missile attacks every day for ten days until they can be stopped. That is a lot of missiles. And unlike those fired by Hamas into Israel in 2014, Hezbollah's arsenal will be able to reach any location.
This assessment has provoked military, civil and national officials to scramble over the past year. The problem is that they may not be moving fast enough to protect civilians in the crosshairs - which, in Israel's case, is everyone.
In fact, says Yoshef Shapira, the nation's State Comptroller, Israel is not prepared to deal with prolonged missile attacks. Shapira revealed his findings in a report issued Tuesday.
The report found gaps in Israeli communities' emergency readiness, especially in terms of their infrastructure, early warning and evacuation readiness.
Public municipal shelters, as well as shared residential shelters, were found to be below standard in dozens of communities, effectively placing some 2 million Israelis at risk. The report warned that public shelters in most cities were ill-equipped and would not be able to accommodate long-term stay.
Shapira's findings indicated that the data presented by the Israel's Homefront Command about the ratio of the population with access to shelters, compared to those without access, are not accurate. This, he said, could undermine political and military decision-making process during wartime. It could also undercut municipal emergency readiness plans.
The audit further reviewed the issue of early warning and air raid systems. The finding determined that "as of the conclusion of this audit in October 2015, the measures currently available to the Israeli Air Force and Homefront Command fall short of providing the public with sufficient warning against some of the threats posed by the enemy."
The report noted that deficiencies were found "despite the fact that in 2013, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had allocated a multi-year budget for the Homefront Command to upgrade the [nationwide] warning system."
Responding to the report, an IDF Spokesperson's Unit statement said the military "has received the report and is studying its findings."
It noted that "under the law, maintaining the integrity of public shelters falls first and foremost to municipalities."
Commenting on the deficiencies in early warning systems, the IDF said, "Over the past year, the IAF has carried out extensive deployment of tactical radars along the Gaza Strip, to facilitate optimal warning in different sectors.
"The Homefront Command handles the maintenance of all warning systems, and it has undertaken an unprecedented mapping project to accurately reflect [civilian] defense disparities in Israel, and some 85% of Israel has already been mapped accordingly. The mapping project is scheduled to be completed by August 2017.
"The Homefront Command works closely with the National Emergency Administration and government ministries, and it has presented the existing data at various Knesset committees many times," the military said.
The National Emergency Administration said that "since June 2014, the NEA, in collaboration with the Homefront Command, has completed a historic regulation of powers between the national bodies handling homefront defense, and has also completed drafting the civilian defense memorandum, which legally regulates this issue for the first time."
The Defense Ministry said that its current mass evacuation plans "are the most detailed, coordinated and accurate plans devised to date, and include microresolutions almost to the level of the individual family. Every community on the northern border and all Gaza vicinity communities know where to evacuate to in wartime, and every government ministry knows its role should an evacuation be ordered.
"Contrary to the audit's findings, the various evacuation plans complement each other, and they have been drilled several times over the past few years," the ministry said.
While the Prime Minister's Office did not immediately comment on the report, a statement it issued on the subject in March was quoted in Shapira's audit as saying: "Setting homefront defense and emergency readiness priorities is pursued routinely by the Defense Ministry and is routinely discussed by the Ministerial Committee on Homefront Emergency Readiness, which the defense minister heads."
This is a lightly edited version of the original article published by Israel Hayom at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=38581