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Minor earthquake hits Jordan Valley region, Israel ‘insufficiently prepared’ for earthquake scenario

Last year, the IDF Home Front Command warned that a devastating earthquake could happen in the near future

Illustrative - View of the Israeli settlement of Ariel, Jul. 2, 2020. (Photo: Sraya Diamant/Flash90)

A 3.5-magnitude earthquake was recorded last night by the Seismological Division of the Geological Survey of Israel. The quake was centered near the Israeli settlement of Ariel in Samaria.

The Jordan Seismological Observatory also reported a 3.8-magnitude earthquake.

According to Israel’s Home Front Command, “the earthquake warning was not activated, because it was not an earthquake that endangers the residents of Israel.” 

Israel is located on the Great Rift Valley, a region with a history of earthquakes going back to biblical times. Zechariah 14:5 mentions an earthquake from the time of King Uzziah. The prophet Amos mentioned earthquakes in his discussion of the Day of the Lord. 

A paper published in 2000 in the International Geology Review journal estimated that the earthquake which occurred in Amos’ lifetime, around 750 B.C., was probably a massive 8.2-magnitude quake. Furthermore, in 749 A.D., an earthquake with a near 8.0-magnitude destroyed the city of Scythopolis in the Galilee region. 

On Monday, Israeli construction official Yair Dickman warned that most buildings built before 1980 in Israel would probably not survive a future earthquake. 

“Any building that was issued a building permit before January 1980 was very likely not built according to standard for earthquake resistance,” he explained. 

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir held a discussion on Tuesday regarding the ministry's lack of preparedness for earthquakes.

He concluded that “the discussion we held this evening shows that the emergency and security bodies of the State of Israel have made significant progress, but they are still not sufficiently prepared for a scenario of an earthquake.” 

“There is a significant lack of resources and capabilities of the government ministries and the emergency and rescue units of the State of Israel to deal with emergencies of this type,” Ben Gvir noted. 

Dr. Ariel Heimann, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, warned that Israel is not prepared for the kind of earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria. 

“One hundred percent we will have such an earthquake. A major and a disastrous earthquake in Israel is not a question of 'if', it’s only a question of 'when',” he said. 

Last year, the IDF Home Front Command warned that a devastating earthquake could happen in the near future. 

“The fact that there has not been a strong earthquake in a long time increases the chance that a strong earthquake will occur in Israel soon,” the agency warned at the time. 


The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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