Israeli Muppets' Oscar the Grouch tells nation to ready for war with Iran

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2012, 4:53am


Israel's answer to the Muppets TV show's pessimist character Oscar the Grouch appears on the cover of an emergency pamphlet being distributed nationwide that warns citizens to prepare for possible war with Iran.

Israelis, the military-issued booklet says, would have between 30 seconds and three minutes between the time air-raid sirens sound and rockets slam into their area. The 15-page pamphlet has started to appear in mailboxes across the country and instructs Israelis how to prepare a safe room or shelter for emergency situations.

On the cover, a smiling Moishe Oofnik - the Oscar character in the Israeli version of the US children's show Sesame Street - sticks out of the bin he calls home.

Israeli officials' rhetoric in recent weeks has suggested that Israel may soon attack Iran's nuclear programme, which many sees as an existential threat to the mainly Jewish state.

Ministers have said up to 500 civilians could die in any war following a strike on Iran.

Iran denies it is seeking atomic weapons and has promised to retaliate strongly if it is attacked. Israel fears that Iran's Hezbollah allies in Lebanon and militants in the Gaza Strip could also launch rocket strikes.

Israel has stepped up the distribution of gas masks and other protective gear to the public. The pamphlet urges Israelis to have a "family talk" about getting ready for any national emergency.