A nation which constantly perceives existential threats in everything from domestic protest marches to the sale of bread during Passover, Israel has today launched a five-day national exercise of assorted “doomsday scenarios” that might imperil the nation at some point in the future.
The exercise will simulate missile strikes simultaneously coming from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Iran and Syria, including chemical and biological weapons in the most densely populated areas. It will also include a wave of suicide bombings, earthquakes and epidemics.
The drill has been planned for month and officials insist it is purely defensive, but the timing – just one week before the Lebanese elections, is being seen in neighboring Lebanon as a sabre-rattling exercise meant to prepare Israelis for retaliation in the event of a new offensive war.
Hezbollah, whose opposition bloc is expected to win those elections, has placed its operatives on emergency alert during the drill, in the case that the simulated doomsday is used as a pretext for an attack. In the summer of 2006, Israel invaded southern Lebanon, killing over a thousand.