Israeli civilians pay for lack of long-term government planning

In the next war that all IDF scenarios attest will happen, the entire State of Israel could be on the front line.

December 7, 2016 03:06
3 minute read.
gaza rockets

Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, July 13, 2014. (photo credit: JACK GUEZ / AFP)

It goes without saying that there is nothing new under the sun. The Israeli population was not sufficiently prepared and defended during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. The cabinet did not hold the necessary discussions.

Government decisions were not carried out. Government promises to set priorities and divide authorities among the Defense Ministry, the Home Front Command and the Public Security Ministry never bore fruit.

The National Security Council (NSC) is utterly dysfunctional and the Defense Ministry, which is directly in charge of the National Emergency Management Authority, is downright dismissive.

The ministry does not send its representatives to relevant discussions and belittles the importance of the NSC. By doing so, the ministry is actually violating the National Security Council Law, but the truth of the matter is that no one cares.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (who is in charge of the NDC) and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (who is in charge of the National Emergency Management Authority) have squabbled on the subject and failed to reach a mutual understanding.

And the list goes on. There is no long-term plan or program for emergency situations; in fact, there is no plan regarding the matter. There are not enough shelters and some of them have not been thoroughly prepared. That is the responsibility of the Home Front Command, but they do not bring it to the awareness of decision makers, and by doing so they are not doing their job properly, to put it mildly.
Iron Dome intercept rocket over Ashdod

The very first rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip at Israel’s South back in 2004. Twelve years have elapsed, and all that has transpired since then are promises the government made to protect educational institutions and build more shelters.

These were just broken promises.

The Iron Dome Aerial Defense System is incapable of intercepting rockets or mortar shells up to seven km.

Therefore, the protection that was promised to the helpless communities that are situated within that range (it was actually promised to secure up to 15 km.) is life-saving, and it is a matter of life or death. Despite that, very little has been accomplished since.

The report also helps shed light on the government’s dismissive approach toward the Supreme Court.

That, too, is not breaking news. The government had committed to the High Court of Justice that it would secure educational institutions within that range.

This brings to mind a joke that is attributed to former prime minister Levi Eshkol: “It’s true that I promised, but I didn’t promise to make good on my promise.”

During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, some 4,000 rockets and missiles were fired at northern Israel. Eight years later, in 2014, 3,800 rockets and mortar shells were launched from Gaza at southern Israel.

The state comptroller has previously cautioned against the deficiencies, flaws, failures and dismissive approach of Israel’s governments and defense system toward the country’s civilians, who pay the salaries of military officers as well as government clerks who are supposed to look after them.

So what? So the state comptroller cautioned and warned. Once more, the comptroller is raising warning signs regarding what the future has in store for us. In the next war that all IDF scenarios attest will happen, the entire State of Israel could be on the front line.

The worst-case scenario predicts that more than a thousand rockets, mortars and missiles will be fired at Israel on a daily basis. They will be more precise and carry more explosives that are expected to be far more lethal.

Every single entity that has been burned by the flames of the comptroller’s reports – the Defense Ministry, the IDF, the Prime Minister’s Office – is quick to release a statement promising that the comptroller’s critiques will be taken into consideration, internalized, understood and implemented.

Word of advice? Don’t hold your breath. They most certainly are not going to do any of the above. It hardly costs them anything to release messages to the media. To them it’s just words, more and more words. But when it comes to civilian lives, that’s when they aren’t willing to lift a finger.

That’s when they make the civilians pay the price.

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