Israel tests text message missile alert system

By Ben Hartman, August 16, 2012
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Amid increasing talk of a possible war with Iran, on Sunday the IDF Home Front Command began sending out text messages to Israelis across the country to test a nationwide emergency alert system.

A Home Front Command officer said that by the end of the week, all Israeli mobile phone owners should have received the Hebrew, Arabic, English and Russian text message, which reads: “The Home Front Command, checking cellular alert system.”

The geographical locations of the receivers were taken into account when the message was sent: the test was meant to gauge the ability of the system to send out texts to areas in danger.

MK Zeev Bielski, chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Subcommittee for the Examination of Home Front Readiness, said this week that Israel still has a way to go to ensure the safety of the home front.
Mr Bielski estimates that around 40 per cent of the Israeli public do not have gas masks and at least 25 per cent do not have a safe room close by.

On Monday night, former Shin Bet chief and one-time public security minister Avi Dichter announced he was resigning from the Kadima party in order to serve as the new head of the Home Front Ministry.

Last updated: 12:01pm, August 16 2012