The need for a system that would allow improved oversight in emergencies and enable enhanced response in the city, particularly in times of conflict but also in peace time, became painfully evident during the 2006 Second Lebanon War as Kiryat Shmona and the surrounding areas were hit by more than 4,000 rockets fired from Lebanon by Hezbollah.
“The people of Kiryat Shmona have endured more than most people could possibly imagine—rockets falling with little warning, running for shelter, and spending days inside in cramped bomb shelters,” Glick said. “We are glad to be in a position to be able to bring a measure of normality to residents’ lives.”
Israel’s largest defense company, Elbit Systems, built the civilian version of its advanced command and control systems in use by Israel Defense Forces and other armies.
B’nai B’rith International is supporting the initial phase of the project with funds raised during the Second Lebanon War. The system will integrate information from high-definition cameras and other sensors and will serve as a platform for further upgrades as additional funding becomes available. When completed, the system will be the most advanced civilian command and control center of its kind in Israel.
The B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem identified the project together with the Kiryat Shmona municipality three years ago as the flagship B'nai B'rith effort to assist the citizens of northern Israel following the considerable physical and emotional damage inflicted by the war.
Kiryat Shmona Director General Eli Cohen noted the importance of the project to his community: “Kiryat Shmona, which has suffered from rocket attacks from Lebanon for decades and is one of the most threatened cities in Israel, needs fast solutions in case of emergency. These will be provided by the highly advanced integrated system. The municipality and the residents of Kiryat Shmona are grateful to B’nai B’rith International, and its members and supporters for making this project possible.”
To attend the opening of the center, or arrange interviews, contact World Center Director Alan Schneider,02-6251743, or 052-5536441, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.