As the Israeli military makes preparations for a promised Syrian attack – all the while issuing public reassurances that such an attack remains uncertain – Israel’s Home Front Command is moving to ready Israel’s civilian population for potential attacks.
Founded in response to attacks on the Jewish state during Operation Desert Storm, the Home Front is the IDF”s “fourth” command. It is charged with protecting Israel’s non-military population, freeing commanders on the front lines to focus solely on tactics and fighting. The Command is formally concerned with five different potential emergencies: conventional threats, natural disasters, chemical and biological threats, first aid and stressful situations, and hazardous materials.
The Command dispatches Civil Emergency Instructors across Israel. Cpl. Nestia Golubovsky, one of the instructors, was recently in northern Israel teaching students in the Arab village of Kfar Qara how to deal with potential catastrophes. Cpl. Golubovsky required a translator, but the message got through. The Israeli military’s blog posted her story as a point of pride:
The school has been participating in the program for a number of years. “I’m an educator, but I’m also a resident of Kfar Qara, a family man and a grandfather,” the principal says. “The work of the Home Front Command here is enormously important. We need to be able to help ourselves.”
During Operation Pillar of Defense, rockets were falling in their dozens, and Kfar Qara was under threat like the rest of the country. The operation was a good example of the importance of the program, the principal says. “I recommend that everyone in the school participates, and I’d like to expand the program to the entire community.”
“If they don’t learn this content in school, they wouldn’t get it anywhere else,” Cpl. Golubovsky tells us. “I get feedback from the school every day. They’re very thankful for what we do. I arrive every day with a good feeling.”
Israeli governments since have implemented programs, stretching back almost a decade, to integrate Arab teaching institutions into Israel’s broader education infrastructure. In 2007 the government recalibrated how it allocates school funding, boosting resources to the country’s Arab institutions.