Panel rejects Vilna'i's dismissal of home front official

MKs in FADC sub-committee say dismissal of National Emergency Authority head Brig.-Gen. (res.) Ze’ev Tzuk-Ram wasn't done according to procedure.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
February 25, 2011 02:50
1 minute read.
MATAN VILNA’I. We’re the neighborhood bully. You don’t want to start with us. (

Vilnai 311. (photo credit: (Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post))

 
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One day after opposition leader Tzipi Livni blasted the Netanyahu administration for zigzagging on top-level appointments, a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee subcommittee announced Thursday that a recent top-level firing in the defense establishment was not valid.

In an emergency meeting of the Subcommittee for Home Front Readiness, MKs announced that Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i’s dismissal of National Emergency Authority head Brig.-Gen. (res.) Ze’ev Tzuk- Ram had not been done according to procedure.

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The subcommittee, led by Kadima MK Ze’ev Bielski, concluded at its meeting that because Tzuk-Ram’s removal was not valid, Tzuk-Ram remained, from the committee’s perspective, the working head of the National Emergency Authority. The subcommittee also concluded that the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, in its full session, would report on its conclusions on the issue within a week.

Last week, Vilna’i told Tzuk- Ram that his position had been terminated. MKs, who heard reports of Tzuk-Ram’s removal through the media, demanded a meeting with Vilna’i to clarify his reasons for firing the official.

Members of the Subcommittee for Home Front Readiness said they were familiar with Tzuk-Ram’s activities, and argued that because the veteran officer had been appointed by the government, only the government could fire him. Furthermore, they emphasized, Tzuk-Ram should have been removed only after a formal process, including the involvement of the Turkel Commission for reviewing senior appointments.

Avi David, Tzuk-Ram’s former deputy, has taken the authority’s reins until a new director is appointed.

Tzuk-Ram’s dismissal was considered a surprise move by Vilna’i, who was promoted from deputy minister to minister following the January split between the Independence and Labor factions. Tzuk-Ram had held the position for three years, and his tenure was notable for the increase in home front preparedness drills.

The ministry’s official reason for Tzuk-Ram’s removal was that reforms were under way within his organization as it was integrated into Vilna’i’s newly established ministry.

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Sources within the Defense Ministry said that in the weeks before the firing, Tzuk-Ram and Vilna’i had butted heads over criticism of the Home Front Command within the National Emergency Authority.

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