In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait and threatened to attack Israel with various types of weapons, including non-conventional ordnance. For the first time in Israel’s history, the entire country faced a real threat of destruction.
The IDF was concerned at the availability to Saddam Hussein of considerable quantities of Russian-made Scud missiles with a range of 600 kilometers, particularly if those missiles were to be equipped with chemical warheads, which Saddam was reputed to have perfected with the help of German companies. Israel had no effective countermeasure at the time.
In view of the unprecedented danger, Israeli citizens were equipped with gas mask kits.
On the night of 17/18 January, 1991, Coalition air forces attacked Iraq. In response, Iraq fired salvos of ground-to-ground missiles into Israel. Over a period of more than 1 month, approximately 38 Iraqi versions of Scud missiles fell in 19 missile attacks. These missiles mainly hit the greater Tel Aviv region and Haifa, although western Samaria and the Dimona area were also hit by missiles.
Directly, these attacks caused 2 civilian deaths. Indirectly, they caused the following casualties: 4 heart attacks, 7 deaths as a result of incorrect use of biological/chemical warfare kits, 208 injured, 225 cases of unnecessary injection of atropine. Damage to general property consisted of 1,302 houses, 6142 apartments, 23 public buildings, 200 shops and 50 cars.
Warning sirens interrupted his concert, but the famous violinist Isaac Stern refused to yield to the threat and continued to play through the attack as seen in this video.