The next war Israel faces may emanate from the south (Hamas), from the north (Hezbollah) or elsewhere – but regardless of where it starts, it will hit all of Israel in a significant way. Residents of no part of the country will be spared the “challenging” experience, said IDF General Tamir Yed’ii, head of the army’s Homefront Command – not even residents of Tel Aviv.
Speaking at a security conference in Ashkelon Wednesday, Yed’ii said that in 2019, “Israel faces a more complicated, dangerous, and challenging security situation than we have in the past. There is now a different geo-strategic reality than we have been used to seeing, and this presents us with threats and challenges that are different than any we have experienced in the past.”
In previous wars over recent years – whether 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, 2012’s Pillar of Defense, or 2008’s Cast Lead in Gaza, as well as the Second Lebanon War in 2006 – residents of the south or north respectively were pummeled with missiles fired by Hamas or Hezbollah, forcing many to temporarily evacuate the area, or to spend the majority of their time in bomb shelters. Meanwhile, although some attacks were aimed at the center of the country, they were rare, and life continued more or less normally.
That won’t be the case next time, said Yed’ii. “We will no longer have a situation where the fighting will take place in the south or the north, while the residents of Tel Aviv sit in cafés. That is a thing of the past,” he said, as the newer long-range missiles both terror groups now possess will place the center of the country in the same danger as the periphery.
“No one disputes that the challenge to the center of the country in the next war will be very strong,” he said, adding that “one of the main challenges will be providing services to residents, and the ability to keep Israeli society going.” Addressing heads of local authorities in the audience, Yed’ii said that “the test of preparedness of local authorities will in great part determine how their populations are able to handle the emergency. The heads of towns and cities will have a great deal to do with that,” he added.