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article imageSesame Street character tells Israelis prepare for war with Iran

By Anne Sewell     Aug 28, 2012 in World
Tel Aviv - A new emergency brochure doing the rounds in Israel instructs residents to prepare for war, should Tel Aviv conduct a military strike on Iran. The face on the document is Moishe Oofnik, Israel's version of Oscar the Grouch. (Video update).
In Israel's co-production of the well known children's program, Sesame Street, Moishe Oofnik is the resident pessimist in "Rechov Sumsum."
Now Moishe's job is to instruct Israelis on how to react should Israel launch a war against Iran.
According to the pamphlet, once air raid sirens sound, Israeli residents would have between 30 seconds and three minutes to find cover, prior to rockets pounding their area. It further informs Israelis on how to build a shelter or safe room for emergency situations.
While Moishe puts a cheerful face on the warnings, the issue is serious. According to Israeli ministers an estimated 500 civilians could die in the conflict, should Israel choose to strike against Iran.
On Monday, a source from the Israeli military said that this emergency pamphlet is part of a public awareness campaign and stated that it also includes advice on how to act in the event of an earthquake.
However, Israeli officials have recently made remarks that suggest that Tel Aviv may soon launch a unilateral attack on Tehran's nuclear program.
Both Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are reportedly in favor of a strike on Iran, and statements and anonymous quotes to Israel media recently have speculated that Israel may soon launch the attack.
While Tehran continues to claim that its nuclear facilities are for civilian purposes only, Israel and Western nations allege that this is a cover for developing atomic weapons.
Netanyahu announced less than two weeks ago that negotiations with Iran had "failed". He claimed that Israel will attack Iran in the near future, with or without the consent of the U.S.
An Israeli official told Ynet News that the Defense Minister is also in support of military action against Iran, "Barak is advocating for action and the defense establishment is investing billions to prepare for an Israeli military operation."
The country's president, Shimon Peres, recently spoke out against a unilateral strike against Iran. He told Israel's Channel Two television, "It's clear to us that we can't do it alone. We can only delay [Iran's progress]. Thus it's clear to us that we need to go together with America."
Now as Israel's government is preparing for the worst, it is urging Israelis to have a “family talk” on preparing for a national emergency. The pamphlet advises, "You should find the proper time to have the conversation - not during mealtime or when you are watching television. It should not be held after a family argument or when you are agitated about some other pressing matter."
Israel has also reportedly been distributing gas masks and other protective gear to the public.
An Israeli military source told Reuters, "There are always innovations the public needs to know about, it doesn't mean anything is going to happen today, tomorrow or the next day."
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