Shapira singles out Lod in report on municipalities
By YONAH JEREMY BOB
State Comptroller publishes report on socio-economic safety net, domestic violence, focuses on attention paid to Israeli-Arab sector.
With especially harsh words for the city of Lod, State Comptroller Joseph
Shapira published a report on local municipal issues on Tuesday, covering issues
from providing a socioeconomic safety net to preventing domestic
The report notes that 94 spouses were killed in domestic
violence incidents from 2004 to 2011. Covering the years 2011-2012, the report
also highlights cities with a concentration of problems, such as Lod, and
reviews a host of other issues, including the effectiveness of municipal lawyers
at enforcing the law, the quality of structural road safety and a review of a
number of cities’ problems with building issues.
The report also devotes
special attention to criticizing the Haifa Bay Municipal Association for
Environmental Protection and the Environmental Protection Ministry for poor
monitoring of air pollution and hazardous chemical contamination risks in the
Haifa Bay region.
Shapira says in the report that the “quality of life
for a resident is impacted by the level of the services that the local authority
provides him, and by its guarding his welfare, health and security.” He adds
that improving local municipalities is key to improving the socioeconomic
circumstances of the population.
The report then criticizes local
municipalities for poorly defining in advance what socioeconomic services they
are due to provide. The deficiency in defining the expected services, according
to the report, often leads to the services not being provided with sufficient
frequency or to a lack of quality.
Shapira calls on the government as a
whole, and the Interior Ministry in particular, to act to fulfill their roles to
advance the provision of the basket of services, maintaining at least a bare
minimum of quality that citizens can expect from their local
He also says the ministry must fulfill past government
decisions to establish a unit to inspect and oversee the provision of
It also calls for this unit to provide information to residents
about their rights so that they will better understand and make use of local
services meant to be available to them.
The report’s section on domestic
violence points to deficiencies in the conduct of local social services
Stating they should be “viewed gravely,” Shapira heavily
criticizes these deficiencies, including failures to adequately defend
endangered spouses and provide them with assistance that would “reduce the
extent of the phenomenon.” The report also says that the different agencies
handling pieces of the domestic violence phenomenon have poor
Concrete deficient examples include many school systems
failing to implement curricula to increase awareness about domestic violence
despite being funding, as well as the Justice Ministry’s failure to publish on
the Internet where victims can get help.
The report makes special note of
domestic violence problems in the Israeli-Arab sector. The Welfare and Social
Services Ministry must “completely reevaluate” its policies in handling the
problem in this sector, and Shapira notes a lack of Arabic speakers and special
training to account for cultural sensitivities among the staff handling the
issue. In Ramle, there was not even a single Arabic speaker, he says.
report stresses that authorities dealing with the issue in the Israeli-Arab
sector need to be better trained to handle it a discrete manner, due to the
extra cultural sensitivities and dynamics regarding the issue in this
While the report reviews a large range of cities on a variety of
issues, it gives special attention to what it calls failures in administration,
law enforcement and economic investment in Lod. The report says the state has
invested significant resources in aspects of improving life in Lod, such as
professional human resources and infrastructure, but the investment has been
uneven and insufficient.
The report returns to one of its themes of poor
definition and coordination by local authorities in implementing changes and
investing resources, as well as overseeing their effectiveness.
criticizes the city’s administration procedures for allocating financial
resources, educational programs, social programs and absorption
He specifically highlights the problem of widespread crime in
the city, which it says makes it difficult to attract new residents, pushes old
residents to leave, and creates an obstacle for all programs.
acknowledging that the police have made increased efforts to fight crime,
particularly drugs and public disturbances, in the last ten years, the report
says that the efforts have still fallen short in the areas of violence and
Shapira singles out the police’s failures in Lod as being below
the average rate of police success in most cities, and notes some categories of
crimes have even seen a recent increase.