Is cowering in 'safe rooms' really a solution?Here's video of Tuesday's rocket strike on Rishon LeTziyon. What you really have to see is the last 2-3 seconds.
Let's go to the videotape.
The building that was hit, which was 4-5 years old, had three floors totally destroyed. Totally, except for the 'safe rooms' that have been required in every Israeli building since the 1991 Gulf War. And because the 'safe rooms' held up, there were no casualties in the building.
Stas Misezhnikov, Israel’s tourism minister, stood outside a devastated apartment building in Rishon, his home town, and spoke of “an absolute miracle that no one was killed here.” The owner and his wife were in the apartment on the sixth and top floor when it was hit — taking refuge, as the Home Front Command requires, in the “safe room” that is legally required in modern apartment buildings. The rocket smashed directly into the apartment, “exactly where they were sitting,” said Misezhnikov, “and yet they came out alive.”
Home owner Amir emerged a little later, indeed, to say, with remarkable stoicism, “we followed the instructions. We heard the huge explosion. We knew the house had been hit. We came out; really, everything was destroyed. I calmed my wife, and we walked downstairs.”
The rocket — said to be carrying 90 kilograms of explosives — penetrated through three floors of the building, causing immense damage, but no serious injuries, because all the residents were in their safe rooms....The numbers would have been far worse were it not for residents’ readiness to follow those Home Front Command orders, and for the relentless assistance of the authorities and local councils. Ashkelon’s Mayor Benny Vaknin said he went door-to-door in a high rise with many elderly residents in the rocket zone, making sure locals were able to get themselves out of harm’s way.
The time lag between alarm and rocket strike in Ashkelon is some 45 seconds, insufficient time for many to make it to safety.
In Rishon, Israel’s fourth-largest city, just south of Tel Aviv and about 60 kilometers from Gaza, residents have about twice that length of time to take cover. Observed the town’s Mayor Dov Tzur, “We’re part of the south now.”