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Director of IDF Homefront Defense Ministry resigns in protest of inaction
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
22/04/2014
Dan Ronen resigns over dispute with the Defense Ministry that he says has left the Israeli civilian sector unprepared for emergencies.
 
The director-general of the Homefront Defense Ministry resigned on Tuesday in protest of an ongoing dispute with the Defense Ministry, which he said has left his ministry paralyzed and the Israeli civilian sector unprepared for emergencies.

Dan Ronen tendered his resignation in a letter he sent to Homefront Defense Minister Gilad Erdan, in which he lamented the lack of oversight powers or the ability to enforce policy aimed at better preparing civilians for war or natural disasters.

An argument between the Homefront Defense Ministry and the Defense Ministry has been raging for years, with the former urging the government to give it more power to enhance civil defenses. Defense Ministry officials, chief among them Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon, have argued that the creation of an additional ministry for this purpose is superfluous, and lobbied for its shut down.

In the resignation letter, Ronen said that since a July 2013 plan drawn up by the National Security Council to significantly strengthen the ministry, "nothing since has happened other than discussions, committees, and exchanges of documents with the Defense Ministry." No clear decision has been taken about the powers and future of his agency, Ronen added.

The current state of affairs could lead to governmental confusion and misplaced responsibility, Ronen warned.

"I came to this position with motivation and readiness to contribute from my experience... but to my sorrow, I cannot continue to accept this situation, in the absence of a clear definition of authority and responsibility," he stated.

"In recent months, I've seen how critical it is to prepare the Israeli homefront for emergency situations like an American attack in Syria, earthquakes, snow, and more," Ronen wrote.

"I have no doubt that the state of Israel requires an independent ministry with full authority and a full time minister who will deal with preparations and management of the home front during an emergency, and not a ministry that will be subordinate to the Defense Ministry," he wrote.

Ronen has held a series of senior posts in his past in the Israel Police and Border Police. During his career, he served as head of the Operations Branch in the Israel Police during the height of the Second Intifada, and directed police forces in the Northern District on behalf of the public security minister during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

A spokesperson for Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon declined a request to comment.

In July 2013, Homefront Defense Minister Erdan said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would soon need to decide whether to grant him and his ministry with greater authorities to institute changes and increase preparations.

"I don't know of a model in which a minister has public responsibilities but no authority to take decisions," Erdan said during a security conference.
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