Israeli Commander: Earthquake Would Be Deadlier Than War
Shalom Ben Aryeh, the outgoing commander of Israel’s National Search and Rescue Unit, and the man who led Israeli delegations to Japan and Haiti following the countries’ recent natural disasters, says that while Israelis worry about rocket attacks during wartime, earthquakes pose a much greater danger to the country’s population.
“I think all the stories of many casualties in war will not materialize in reality, and by my estimation, a large part of the missiles would not fall in populated areas,” Ben Aryeh told Israel’s Channel 2. “I think our situation is much better than it seems, and we know how to deal with the enemy. The scale of casualties in an earthquake will be a much bigger number of casualties than if war breaks out in the future, and we have to worry about it.”
The Search and Rescue Unit is responsible for responding to injuries and damage caused by terrorism and other attacks inside Israeli borders, as well as responding to humanitarian disasters around the world.
Ben Aryeh led Israeli personnel to Haiti, following the country’s devastating earthquake in 2010, as well as India and Turkey following natural disasters in those countries. He was also part of an Israeli team that assisted in the aftermath of the 1998 bombing of the American embassy in Kenya.
Speaking to Channel 2 in Israel, the outgoing unit chief said that despite souring relations between Turkey and Israel in recent years, if an earthquake were to occur inside Turkey, an Israeli team would be ready and willing to assist.