YouTube Video Captures Israel Children In War, Anti Terrorism Exercise



By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem ----- April 10....... For many years the children of Israel living on the northern and southern borders have died, been injured and have suffered emotionally from Katusha terror rockets from Hezbollah in Lebanon and Qassam missiles from Hamas in Gaza. But now that Iran and Syria have provided thousands of missiles to terror organizations on Israel borders, every child in Israel has become a target.

On April 8, 2008, under the threat of war and terrorism by Iran and Syria, Israel prepared her children in the largest national civilian exercise for emergency situations in Israel's history. Throughout this week, the Israel National Emergency Authority practiced a long series of scenarios, including situations of chemical missiles being fired on Israel communities and rescuing wounded trapped in rubble.

For the first time during the war and anti terrorism exercise entitled "Turning Point 2," messages were distributed to Israel citizens and instructions were provided through the media.

As part of the Israel Defense Forces Home Front exercise, officials sounded air raid sirens throughout every town and city in Israel. The purpose of the siren was to prepare Israelis for an incoming missile or rocket attack.

Although the loud, wailing sirens sounded in cities and the countryside, Israel authorities provided special attention to the schools.

Children were evacuated to bomb and air raid shelters.

 

In a YouTube video captured by the Israel News Agency, one can witness hundreds of young children in central Israel sitting against school walls bent over with their hands protecting their heads. Although the teachers tried to provide as much preparation and comfort for the war and anti terrorism exercise, many children continued to cry, not fully understanding why they were being forced to run into bomb shelters. Many of these children will suffer from post traumatic stress as the result of these war exercises forced upon them by Iran, Syria and the terror groups for which they sponsor.

Child psychologists in Israel suggested that parents speak to their children during these war and anti terrorism exercises.

"Children need to feel that they can voice their concerns and that parents will help them," said one child psychologist. "For younger children, it may be to simply state that not knowing where they will sleep may be scary, but the parent must reassure the children that they will be fine."

"Focus on the needs of each particular child and remember that children cope very differently than adults. They may be more or less focused or concerned on a continual basis with the sirens and news of the war and terrorism exercise. They may hear some distressing news, go off to play and come back later to ask a series of questions. In the middle of playing, a young child may act out what he just saw in school or on television. Children too, need to be told that it is perfectly normal to cry or feel unhappy, when they are distressed," the psychologist said.

"We must make sure that we continue to treat our children as children and not parentify them - some things are outside their comprehension and the decisions are adult ones that should not include their input. You may find that you need that quiet walk and talk with your preteen or the donut and discussion with your adolescent. Sometimes that extra 5 minutes cuddling at bedtime with your child will give your child that time to share feelings and concerns that will otherwise keep him up all night."

Child psychologists stated: "Provide accurate, honest, truthful, and age appropriate information about Israel, Gaza, Lebanon, Iran, Syria, terrorism and peace. This will enable children to better understand and work through their fears and concerns. Words need to be chosen carefully so that we are clear in the information we provide and so that children understand what we really said."


Over 1.7 million Israel schoolchildren headed for air raid and bomb shelters.
Photo: Pavel Wolberg / EPA

With media in Israel and Syria carrying news reports of heightened tensions in recent days, Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated that the exercise was a "routine drill". But not one person saw anything routine about children in central Israel running for their lives as the sirens went off.

"The state of Israel is not intent on any violent confrontation in the north," Olmert said. "On the contrary we have said on more than one occasion that we have an interest in holding peace negotiations with Syria."

"The war exercise was not planned in relation to any current events," the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. "The aim of the exercise is to prepare the different services and institutes operating in the civilian environment for various emergency situations."

But officials said the major scenario was that of terror missile attacks from Lebanon and Syria on Israel cities. They said the scenario included missiles with chemical warheads.

Two years ago, the terrorist group Hezbollah fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israel during the second Lebanon war. Today, Hezbollah has accumulated over 20,000 rockets. And its leaders have threatened to strike back at Israel for the February killing of terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyeh.

A young girl, age 7, was heard saying: "why does Hezbollah want to murder me and my friends? What did we do wrong?" The teacher standing next to the child, wiped away a tear from her face. "Because we were born Jewish," she said. "Because we believe in freedom and democracy. Freedom to speak, freedom to vote and freedom to move as we wish. Our enemies in Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia do not believe in freedoms, only in what their bible the Koran says. And it says that all Jews and Christians are infidels, enemies of the Muslim people that must be destroyed." The child then asked: "that is what the Nazis wanted to do to the Jews, yes?" The teacher looked at the child and paused for several moments. She then nodded yes as she wiped away yet another tear hoping that the child would not see it.

Today Israel simulated a chemical weapons missile attack on a hospital as it completed its largest ever civil-defense exercise, a military spokesman said.

In the final drill of the five-day exercise, a hospital in the northern Israel city of Afula was evacuated during the simulation of the chemical weapons attack.

The home front maneuver was aimed at preparing Israel for possible attacks involving conventional weapons as well as missiles equipped with chemical or bacteriological warheads.

It also aimed to prepare the country for possible concerted attacks by Syria and its Lebanon Hezbollah terror allies from the north, and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas from the south.

Today everyone in Israel awoke to radio announcers describing the scenario being practiced for day four of a virtual war. Israel is under missile attack from Hizbullah in Lebanon and from Syria. Kassam rockets and Grad-type Katusha missiles were being launched at Netivot and Ashkelon from Gaza.

The IDF dispatched a statement assuring citizens that the drill has been planned "as part of the IDF 2008 work plan."

Syria and Lebanon are on high alert. Israel army radio reported that while the practice war and anti terrorism exercises are being held, Hizbullah terrorists and Syria will be deployed and readied for an all-out confrontation. Syria announced today that it will hold an unprecedented exercise to test the readiness of their home front for a possible Israel attack. The drill was announced on state-run Radio Damascus.

The announcement said the drill will take place in all of Syria's provinces and will test the country's readiness and ability to handle natural disasters and other emergencies.

Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak has said the exercise drew from lessons learned from the 2006 Lebanon war, during which more than 4,000 rockets fired by Hezbollah slammed into northern Israel.

An official inquiry harshly criticized Israel's leadership for failing to protect civilians during the 34 day war which killed more than 160 people in Israel.

"Unfortunately, we live in a country where anything can happen. This just gives the feeling of-so the people can imagine at least what they are supposed to do," said one woman.

Israel hospitals and firefighters also took part in the war exercise, rehearsing for a possible chemical or biological attack.

Even those who didn't take part could learn what to do by watching public service announcements on how to take shelter.

Some of Israel's enemies have warned that the drill is a signal that Israel is about to go to war. But for Israelis, the exercise is one more step to protect themselves from enemies who have shown that they will "wipe Israel off the map."

"We can get into war, and we need to be prepared. So, it's necessary, this drill," a high school boy said. A young girl, age 7, was heard saying: "why does Hezbollah want to murder me and my friends? What did we do wrong?"

The teacher standing next to the child, wiped away a tear from her face. "Because we were born Jewish," she said. "Because we believe in freedom and democracy. Freedom to speak, freedom to vote and freedom to move as we wish. Our enemies in Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia do not believe in freedoms, only in what their bible the Koran says. And it says that all Jews and Christians are infidels, enemies of the Muslim people that must be destroyed."

The child then asked: "that is what the Nazis wanted to do to the Jews, yes?" The teacher looked at the child and paused for several moments. She then nodded yes as she wiped away yet another tear hoping that the child would not see it.

 

Want to comment on this article?
Click feedback here!


 



ISRAEL NEWS AGENCY

 

Internet Marketing SEO Professionals ask:
Can People Find Your Website?

 

Sponsored by IsraelPr.com
CrisisCommunicationsPr.com