Northern Businesses Ready for More Katyusha Attacks

Business as usual for the moment in northern Israel despite the resumption of rocket attacks.

It's business as usual up in northern Israel despite the resumption of rocket attacks. Seasoned by the heavy barrages of the Second Lebanon War, the companies and plants are continuing to operate normally even though a number of Katyushas landed Thursday, causing damage.

Plants of the Strauss dairy company in Ahihud, Carmiel, Nazareth and Safed were reinforced subsequent to the Second Lebanon War and work continues as usual.

Meat processing company Soglowek is located near the border with Lebanon. The company did report disruption to regular work, but adds that following the Lebanon conflict in the summer of 2006, it's prepared for developments and doesn't expect any impairment of production. Soglowek (usually pronounced "Zoglobek") has two plants in Shlomi, one in Nahariya and a fourth in southern Israel, seven kilometers from Gaza Strip.

"We were all preoccupied with the war in the south and our marketing department even went out there to show solidarity with the plant in the south, and suddenly an attack came from the north," reports Orly Zeevi, assistant to the Soglowek management.

Soglowek's plant is classified as essential, and as such as it must continue to operate even under fire. When the fighting in the south began, the management lost no time in dusting off its 300-page guideline for operating under conditions of war. Now the procedures may apply up north, too.

Nor was Soglowek taken by surprise. "The moment Operation Cast Lead began, we began to prepare for a flare-up on the northern front," Zeevi says. "We appointed a War Room commander, tested our public-address systems, prepared bomb shelters with water, first-aid and communications equipment. We held bomb shelter drills, we prepared lists of essential workers and essential actions."

Soglowek also lost no time reinforcing vulnerable areas at its Shlomi facility, using equipment left from the Second Lebanon War, Zeevi says. The company also maintains constant contact with the Northern Command, she adds.

Meanwhile, in the country's south where schools have been closed, Soglowek opened a kindergarten for the children of employees, so work can go on.

The one project likely to ground to a halt if the attacks from Lebanon continue is Soglowek's initiative, whereby families up north host nerve-wracked families from the south. It functioned the other way around during the Second Lebanon War, Zeevi explained. But under the circumstances, going north these days may not bring much relief.

Katyushas fired from south Lebanon struck Thursday in the morning. Two people were wounded and a number more were treated for shock. The rockets struck the Nahariya area at around 8 A.M., one of them scoring a direct hit on the roof a nursing home in the city.

A Hezbollah minister in Lebanon's cabinet has denied any involvement by the militant group in the firing of the rockets.