| Corona Crisis |

Israel Prepares for Martial Law

As of this writing, there are nearly 4,000 coronavirus cases in Israel, with two dead, and another 66 people in serious condition. Recent actions by the Israeli military suggest that the government expects the situation to worsen.

An emergency bunker near Jerusalem now serves as the headquarters for the National Crisis Management center, originally built for wartime but now the headquarters of the corona crisis. Figures in the prime minister’s office explained that “We understand that this crisis will accompany us for a while.”

For two weeks now, head of the Home Front Command, Gen. Tamir Yadai, hasn’t been seen publicly. He communicates via a secure, remote network and went into voluntary isolation to prepare for the day – if it comes – that Israel will go into total lockdown. The Home Front Command would assume control of the entire country if the rate of coronavirus infection increases dramatically. Once the decision is made, the IDF takes over everything.

There are two stages of the defense establishment’s preparations: the first is offering help to the various civilian bodies dealing with the pandemic. The second is taking charge of public security in the event of martial law. If this happens the defense ministry will take control of the entire country and all other ministries will operate under its jurisdiction.

The preparations are in accordance with the “kluv kaitz (summer fruit basket)” plan originally developed for dealing with natural disasters like earthquakes.

The IDF has already prepared the operation’s command structure: a command center will be established in every area, to be allocated forces and tasked with missions. In this apocalyptic scenario, brigade commanders could find themselves in charge of cities, with battalion commanders under them in charge of neighborhoods, and platoon commanders under them in charge of streets. The IDF has already called up 2,000 reservists, most of them to serve in the Home Front Command.

In this eventuality the IDF will suspend ongoing operations and training exercises and erect temporary bases to serve as treatment centers for thousands of the sick; they will also prepare for mass burials. The IDF’s transport unit will also guarantee the flow of supplies directly from factories to the population. It will be mobilization in reverse: instead of mobilizing the economy to help the military in wartime, the army will be mobilized to help the economy.

The IDF believes that the corona crisis will persist for months ahead. That’s what the health experts are saying, and so that’s what the IDF is preparing for.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 805)

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