Alon Levavi
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Shaken foundations: Israel’s race against the inevitable

The earthquake in Morocco wasn't just seismic waves; it was a global alarm bell, emphasizing the urgency of preparedness
Rescue workers stand on a collapsed building in Adiyaman, southern Turkey, February 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
Rescue workers stand on a collapsed building in Adiyaman, southern Turkey, February 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

In a mere fortnight, the world has been a witness to nature’s wrath: California’s tempestuous weather, Canada’s engulfing flames, Florida’s raging hurricane, Greece’s torrential downpours, and of course, Morocco’s ground-shaking tremors. These aren’t isolated incidents; they’re chapters in a global narrative of escalating natural disasters, leaving behind a trail of physical devastation and emotional trauma.

The images flooding our screens from every corner of the globe aren’t just news; they’re lessons. Research consistently shows that nations and communities that invest in proactive measures – from risk assessments to resilience-building – not only weather crises better but emerge from them stronger.

Preparedness isn’t just about concrete and steel. While reinforcing structures, deploying early-warning systems, and enhancing firefighting capabilities are crucial, the heart of true readiness lies in our communities. It’s in the drills we conduct, the local leaders we empower, and the resilience we nurture at the grassroots level. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored this, spotlighting the pivotal role of local governance. These are the entities closest to the ground, attuned to the unique strengths and vulnerabilities of their communities.

In the Israeli context, where security drills are almost second nature, it’s perplexing – and concerning – that our preparedness for natural emergencies remains so fragmented. Multiple agencies, from the IDF to local fire departments, have a stake in this, but the lack of synchronization is palpable. And it’s disheartening to see safety sometimes taking a backseat to real estate interests.

The ground beneath Israel will shake; this is a statistical certainty, not a mere prediction. As a nation that has always extended a helping hand globally, it’s time we fortified our own house. The National Resilience Index, initiated years ago, needs more than an update; it requires a complete overhaul, arming decision-makers with the tools to bolster our national and local resilience.

As we stand on this seismic crossroad, the question isn’t if the earth beneath us will tremble, but when. And when that day comes, will we stand firm or be caught off guard?

About the Author
The writer is Alon Levavi, the former deputy commissioner of the police and he is the head of the Resilience Building and Crisis Management specialization at the Ono Academic College and a member of the group, Standing in the Front, which founded the Institute for Research on Personal Security and Community Resilience at the Western Galilee. Academic College