With a geographic area smaller than the state of New Jersey, Israel has large population centers within range of terrorist missiles waiting just outside her borders.

Last week, northern Israel’s missile alert system sounded alarms when rockets from Lebanon were fired at Israeli citizens. Similarly, Israel’s other northern neighbor, Syria, threatened to attack Israel this week if the U.S. intervenes in its bloody civil war, which recently witnessed President Bashar al-Assad unleash chemical weapons on populated civilian areas.

The rocket attacks and Syria’s threats highlight the vulnerability of Israel’s borders. Fearing chemical attacks, unprecedented numbers of Israelis are claiming gas masks and preparing bomb shelters. “The country must be ready for every possibility that could harm and disturb citizens’ everyday lives,” said Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Subcommittee on Homefront Preparedness chairman Eli Yishai.

The Times of Israel reported that the missiles fired last week from Lebanon by the Azzam Abdullah Brigades, an Al Queda-inspired Jihadist group, “were capable of flying 40 kilometers, or 25 miles, putting the Israeli city of Haifa in its range.” During operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, terrorists in Gaza fired Grad type rockets at Tel Aviv, only 44 miles away, threatening the lives of over 410,000 people.

One of the missiles Lebanese jihadists fired last week landed in the city of Nahariya, which has a population of 51,200, while another hit Acre which is home to 46,464 residents. The Times of Israel reported that although there were no deaths, “dozens of elderly Holocaust survivors, in a facility in the Acre area, came very close to being hit … survivors, who live in a facility comprising several buildings in the area, heard sirens wailing ahead of the rocket attack, but were unable to reach bomb shelters before the rocket struck.” Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system managed to intercept one of the rockets.

Syrian officials in Damascus, 135 miles north of Jerusalem, warned that strategic weapons are aimed at Israel, claiming, “If the US or Israel make the mistake of taking advantage of the chemical issue … the region will go up in flames … that will affect security not only in the region but across the world.” Despite fear, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu encouraged Israelis to remain calm and continue with their normal routine. Concerning the security issues he said, “We are preparing for every eventuality. The IDF is ready to defend against any threat and to respond with force to any attempt to harm Israel’s citizens.”

The IDF has deployed an additional Iron Dome battery along Israel’s northern border and the Israeli Air Force Arrow missile system has also been prepped for a possible missile attack.

Author: Eitan Press, staff writer for United with Israel
Date: August 30, 2013

In response to current events, United with Israel will be delivering bomb shelters to vulnerable areas in northern Israel. To contribute funds for the shelters click here: www.unitedwithisrael.org/build-shelters