Just 40 million shekels out of an expected 300m. cash injection has so
far made it to the Fire and Rescue Service, Public Security Minister Yitzhak
Aharonovitch told the Knesset on Wednesday.
Speaking to the Knesset’s
Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, the minister said firefighters were
supposed to have received the full sum this year, warning that any further delay
could be tragic.
“We had a fire yesterday that could have developed to
the size of the Carmel fire,” he sad referring to the blaze which closed off
Route 1 on Tuesday. “After the state comptroller’s report [which contained
devastating critiques about the state of the fire service], we must not go back
to the stage we were at before the disaster,” he added. Firefighters have
already received an additional 400m. shekel since the disaster, he
Aharonovitch also said that Tuesday’s fire was most likely the
work of arsonists. “These things are being investigated. I estimate that it’s
arson, but it’s still being checked,” he added. The minister said firefighters
in the Jerusalem area have had to deal with hundreds of arson incidents in
recent months in the Jerusalem area, adding that some of the fires were an act
of “spontaneous” terrorism by Palestinians.
“You don’t need an
organization to set fire to any particular forest,” he added.