Earthquake Blues

With Iran still reeling from a devastating earthquake, Tel Aviv-based relief organization Latet hopes to send emergency supplies to survivors, despite the fact that Iran has rebuffed Israel’s generous offer to help.

“If there are many people that are starving and injured and have no place to sleep,” explained Latet general manager Eran Weintrob, “we don’t ask and we don’t argue and we don’t think about political issues. We just act. If we can act, we will.”

And don’t think that the average Iranian agrees with their government’s stance.

..Iranian callers on the Voice of Israel’s popular Farsi-language program Sunday “expressed their deep gratitude toward Israelis who have supported sending aid to Iran,” according to program director Menashe Amir.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem News Wire reports that Israel may itself experience a devastating earthquake.

Scenes of earthquake-wrought devastation like those filling the world’s television screens from Bam, Iran at the weekend could be relayed live at any moment from all of Israel’s major population centers, including Jerusalem, as the result of just one seismic disaster.

Israeli geologists believe a major earthquake could strike without notice, and based on research have since the turn of the century predicted with near certainty the arrival of “the big one” in the next 50 years.

According to a recently released report exposing the shoddy standard of construction in the country, a quake of 6.0 or over on the Richter scale is expected to flatten an untold number of buildings, leaving tens of thousands of Israelis dead – possibly many more.

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Because Bam is situated more than 190 km from the nearest next population center, damage and casualties were almost exclusively confined to the town itself, according to reports.

A similar quake in Israel, where the towns and cities almost all encroach on one another, could have even far more catastrophic results.

Active fault lines run throughout the small Jewish state due to the active tectonic structure of the Dead Sea Rift that runs the full length of Israel.

According to the Risk Management Solutions’ (RMS) Israel Earthquake Model, the Jordan Valley Fault in the north of the country “has a high probability of generating a major earthquake.”

The RMS believes that a large earthquake there “could create damaging ground motions in every major population center, all located within 70 km of the rift.”

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The Bam earthquake reminded Israelis of their own tenuous situation, coming as it did hard on the heels of a state commissioned report on building safety in Israel that sent shock waves across the land.

In colorful language the report, set up to investigate the May 2001 collapse of a Jerusalem wedding hall, described how “the poisoned goblet of flaws that the construction industry is drowning in, is overflowing.”

According to The Jerusalem Post Sunday, the report found “that the entire system of construction in Israel is flawed to its core, and recommends sweeping changes in the industry├ľ”

Like we don’t have enough to worry about.

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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