yishai shalom netanyahu cabinet meeting 311.
(photo credit: Haim Tzach)
The Carmel Forest fire last month continued to cast a pall over the government
Sunday, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu chastising Interior Minister Eli
Yishai for making unrealistic demands in an effort to cover his
After Yishai criticized the government’s plan to allocate NIS 350
million to revamp the country’s fire services, asking for double that amount,
Netanyahu reportedly told him, “I asked to stop sending me, how do we say in
diplomatic language, ‘letters to cover oneself.’ It is preferable not to send
more than one a day, and not to ask for more than a billion shekels.”
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cabinet approved NIS 800m. for emergency preparedness.
sent a letter to Netanyahu deriding the state of the country’s fire services,
and saying that the conclusions of the next committee of inquiry were already
known. Netanyahu reportedly told him in the cabinet that “we are not working
[with an eye on] the next commission of inquiry.”
Kadima hurried to
pounce on the fireworks inside the cabinet, issuing a statement saying Netanyahu
had lost control over his ministers.
“This is how a government looks on
its last leg,” the statement said.
Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office
said that Netanyahu’s comments were in regard to a wide array of budgetary
requests from government ministers over the last month with requests for
billions of shekels to deal with hypothetical emergencies.
according to the statement, said in the cabinet that the state must set
priorities and cannot deal with endless requests.
The cabinet approved a
NIS 800m. proposal Sunday for home front emergency preparedness and
NIS 350m. of this will be budgeted to establish an upgraded
national fire service and aerial fire-fighting force, and another NIS 350m. will
be allocated to earthquake preparedness and rehabilitating the Home Front
Command’s firefighting capabilities.
The allocation for earthquake
preparedness will also go toward setting up emergency centers in the local
councils, a communications network for emergency bodies and acquiring equipment
for the evacuation of 400,000 people.
The cabinet allocated another NIS
100m. as an emergency supplement where needed.
The government decision
also mandated that the new fire service will be part of the Public Security
Ministry, and that the earthquake emergency services will come under the purview
of Minister- without-Portfolio Bennie Begin, who is a
Netanyahu told the cabinet that he gave directions to have an
aerial firefighting force operable within a few months.
“In the first
stage, we will lease planes. In the second stage, we will buy planes. I spoke
with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper last Friday regarding possible
bilateral arrangements to purchase Canadian planes, which are the best in the
world for this kind of mission.,” he said.
The cost of leasing the planes
for two years will be NIS 100m., money that is coming out of the NIS
350m. allocated for the firefighting services.