Israel on Sunday launched a five-day nationwide defense drill to prepare the public for emergencies, according to the military, which said it was not linked to any specific threat.
The fourth annual drill, codenamed "Turning Point 4," will include a series of alerts as part of field training exercises in different areas and a 90-second siren throughout the country on Wednesday.
Schools will take part in the siren drills, with teachers leading students to designated safe areas where they will wait for 10 minutes.
The exercises will also test mobile phone warning systems, and citizens in certain areas will receive text messages reading "Have a nice day" signed by the Home Front Command, the military said.
Local authorities will also practice distributing protective kits on Wednesday at several centers in different parts of the country.
The exercise has raised regional suspicions that Israel is preparing for war
We have no intention of starting a war in the north," Barak told reporters ahead of a weekly cabinet meeting, echoing earlier statements by senior officials insisting that the drill was not related to any specific threat.
His remarks came after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said the exercises "ran counter to peace efforts" and the Hezbollah movement in southern Lebanon mobilised thousands of fighters in response to the drill.
Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai meanwhile stressed that Israel had communicated with its neighbors, including Syria, through intermediaries to reassure them of its peaceful intentions.
The devastating 2006 war sparked by a cross-border attack on an Israeli army patrol destroyed much of southern Lebanon, largely a Hezbollah stronghold. Israel estimates Hezbollah has since stockpiled more than 40,000 rockets.