Tension with Iran has prompted Israel to prepare for the worst.
An underground bomb shelter in central Tel Aviv can hold up to 2000 people – it is just part of the city’s elaborate defence infrastructure.
The security forces organise frequent safety drills. All cities are equipped with public air raid shelters and all new apartments must have bombproof rooms.
The head of Tel Aviv’s Security Committee is Moshe Tiomkin. He said: “This is part of our daily lives. The Tel Aviv district makes every effort in terms of time, money and work, to make sure that we’ll be ready in time of need, and I think we are ready.”
On the streets of Tel Aviv many people appeared to feel no sense of alarm. “We’re used to this pressure” one resident said. Nevertheless some were scared.
“I’m concerned because we’re going to be attacking them and they’re going to be attacking us”, said one woman, “and no one’s going to win in the end. So what’s going to happen – it’s scary.”
Her fears may be justified. Should Israel attack first, Iran has promised swift retaliation.
Many will be hoping President Obama’s meeting with the Israeli prime minisiter has lessened that risk.