The disaster in Haiti is bringing attention to the fact that Israel is more or less due for an earthquake of its own. It experiences a major one roughly once every 80 years; the last one was in 1927, and every year that passes without one increases one’s chances of occurring the next year. The epicenter in 1927 was the Dead Sea (the main rift runs along the Jordan Valley), and registered a 6.2 on the Richter scale. Haaretz’s reporter writes:
Most schools and hospitals in Israel were constructed before new building codes—which take into account the effects of earthquakes—were enacted. Moreover, some 50,000 residential buildings in Israel do not meet the new codes and are expected to collapse in the event of an earthquake. … Billions of shekels are invested in the defense budget, and this is seen as an obvious investment, but reinforcing hospitals or schools so they can withstand earthquakes and their aftermath receives no allotment.
Maybe Haiti can serve as a wake-up call.
Israel is Due, and Ill Prepared, for Major Earthquake [Forward/Haaretz]
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.