Israel's New, More Accurate Missile Alert System Goes Into Effect

System breaks down warning zones for pinpointed warnings for areas under threat

A Home Front Command officer examines the damage from a rocket fired from Gaza at a special needs kindergarten in Sderot, May 5, 2019.
\ Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The Israeli military activated a new missile warning system Wednesday, which will provide earlier, more targeted alerts to specific communities in the event of oncoming missiles. 

The new system divides Israel's current 255 alert zones into 1,700 separate areas. This means that large cities like Be'er Sheva, Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv will be broken down into separate zones in which sirens will sound. Only those living in the areas under threat of incoming projectiles will be warned to take cover, rather than the entire city.

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Captain Shlomi Maman, head of the warning department in the Israel Defense Forces' Home Front Command, said that the new system will help save lives. "People will know when there's a threat in their community, hospitals and businesses won't need to stop working" in case of a rocket launched into an area further away.

Long-range threat warnings will be activated by soldiers, while short-range warnings, like those heard in communities on the Gaza and northern borders, will be automatic.

The Home Front Command urges Israeli residents to visit their website or app, enter their address and find out their warning zone number. 

In Bedouin communities in the country, Home Front Command officials have worked with residents and local representatives to delineate warning zones in unrecognized villages. Because some sections of road are far off from the villages, particularly in the Jordan Valley and the south, there is still no solution for missile warnings. IDF sources say that the issue will be solved in the coming months.