Israel Makes More Homefront Preps for Missile Attacks

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- No one knows if or when Israel will launch a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. In the meantime, preparations for any eventuality are in full swing.

On Wednesday, the Jerusalem Post reported that Tel Aviv will be releasing a list of about 50 underground parking facilities that can be used as shelters in the event of missile attacks.

Because many of Tel Aviv's buildings predate the 1991 Gulf War, they were built without bomb shelters, which became standard building code after Iraq's scud missile bombardment on Tel Aviv and Haifa.

Meanwhile former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Avi Dichter will be sworn in as the new Home Front Defense minister Thursday.

Dichter resigned from the Knesset Tuesday following meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. He will replace Matan Vilnai, who stepped down to become Israel's ambassador to China.

Dichter is joining the government as an independent after resigning from the Kadima party, which left the government in July to return to the opposition -- a decision Dichter opposed.

While he will no longer vote in the Knesset, he could play a decisive role should Netanyahu ask the Cabinet to approve a military strike on Iran.

For now, the Home Front Defense ministry's priorities include distributing gas masks, building bomb shelters, and reinforcing buildings - especially those within range of Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

"Party politics and personal convictions played no role in my decision," Dichter wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday, Israel Hayom reported. "Now, as home front defense minister, I believe I will be able to serve best…I put the country first, ahead of personal gain."

Netanyahu mentioned the appointment Tuesday at a ceremony welcoming new immigrants from the United States and Canada.

Dichter, he said, would "continue doing what he has been doing his whole life -- contributing to the security of the country."

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