Mayor Ze'ev Bielski.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The government has not prepared citizens for “the next round of warfare,” MK Ze’ev Bielski (Kadima), chairman of the Subcommittee for the Readiness of the Home Front of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told The Jerusalem Post this week.
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“September’s events may cause the current situation to deteriorate. We don’t want another war, but with all that is happening in Egypt, Syria and Turkey, the Middle East is a barrel of explosives,” Bielski said.
“The Palestinian issue may cause it to explode.
“We in the committee have been closely following the preparations for the next round of warfare – it doesn’t necessarily have to be in September [following the Palestinians’ statehood bid in the UN] but we will have to contend with fighting once again,” he added.
Bielski explained that the home front is not properly protected: “Over one million homes do not have defenses, such as safe rooms or shelters.”
The Kadima MK also said that most people have yet to collect their gas masks.
“Today, 60 percent of Israelis will not be able to protect themselves from a biochemical threat,” he said.
“The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has demanded from the prime minister to solve this problem.”
Bielski explained that in the next war, like in the Second Lebanon War, rockets are expected to fall in populated areas. “The decision-makers have yet to internalize the nature of the next war, in which the home front will become the battlefront,” he said.
The subcommittee chairman made sure to point out that “the IDF is preparing and doing everything it can. They’re doing a good job.”
However, he added: “the government is responsible for defending the home front. The Interior Ministry doesn’t have a penny to give local authorities to build shelters – or even emergency call centers – and other ministries are not doing anything else.”
Bielski also commended Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i for being “a good, talented person,” but said he is “unable to function.”
“We have a minister, but he doesn’t have a ministry,” the Kadima MK explained.
“The government has been trying to block the ministry’s establishment. Vilna’i has one of the most important jobs in this country, but he has no authority.”