Despite Tension, Business as Usual on the Golan

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli forces patrol the border with Lebanon, near Kfar Kila, Lebanon, Wednesday. (Reuters/Karamallah Daher)

Golan residents woke up Wednesday to a relatively normal morning, after an eventful night in which the IDF ordered bomb shelters to be opened, in preparation for a possible Iranian attack on Israel after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. was pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. Schools were open, and businesses, government and community institutions were functioning as usual.

Residents were not told to remain in bomb shelters, as they have been told to do in past security emergencies. In addition, farmers were given the green light to go to work as usual, although they were urged to keep abreast of the news to ensure their safety. With that, the IDF canceled several hikes that were scheduled by schools for the northern area of the Heights, although individuals and private groups were not prohibited from hiking. Several tourist sites near the border were also closed. With that, several roads along the Golan border with Syria remained closed Wednesday.

A man opens a bomb shelter in the Golan Heights, in northern Israel, Tuesday, following an order of the IDF to open all the bomb shelters in the Golan Heights. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

The decision to continue with “business as usual” in the Golan was made in an early morning meeting of IDF officials, hours after an attack hit a military base in Syria that housed Iranian Fajr 3 missiles, according to reports in Syrian media. Israel has not commented on accusations that it was behind the attack. Sources told Channel Two that the missiles destroyed in that raid were likely to be used in the Iranian “revenge” attack that Tehran had promised, after several bases in Syria were destroyed in air raids in the past few months.

Despite the tension, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu left for Moscow Wednesday morning as scheduled, for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Speaking at Ben Gurion Airport before departing, Netanyahu said that meetings between him and the Russian leader “are always important and this one is especially so. In light of what is currently happening in Syria, it is necessary to ensure the continued coordination between the Russian military and the IDF.”