State Comptroller Joseph Shapira on Wednesday said he would investigate the
government’s preparedness for coping with the recent storm that shut down large
swaths of the country.
“Whoever travels around Jerusalem’s streets sees
that the situation is not white, but black,” he said.
Shapira made his
comments at a conference on internal government oversight in Tel
“We are not talking about a sudden incident, and even before the
storm, one could already anticipate its immensity based on the weather
projections,” the comptroller said.
“During that time, the state was
obligated to review the situation accordingly,” he continued, noting that
besides investigating storm preparedness, he would be investigating general
preparedness for sudden large disasters.
Shapira highlighted the
disproportionate impact the storm had on the poor.
“Even as all of the
nation of Israel was exposed to difficulties due to the storm, it was clear that
the difficulties for the weaker sectors, who did not have the ability to leave
their residences or to pay for extra high costs for heating,” were much greater,
“The heart breaks to see elderly persons and children freezing
from the cold with no one to save them.”
The state must be better
prepared to protect the poor from similar disasters, he resolved.
comptroller addressed the issue of whether his intervening in the middle of the
storm, as opposed to waiting until the it had subsided, had been the right
Pushing back against criticism, he said that the report he would
prepare was not the first one on home-front preparedness and that, after serious
internal debate, his office had concluded that he must voice his criticism in a
“clear manner and note the state agencies which will be checked.”
intervention had spurred state agencies to act more efficiently in responding to
the storm and “had been at the right time,” Shapira said.
time the problem was a storm, “the next time it could be rockets,” he said.