Security adviser says Liberman stalling Home Front evacuation plans

A spokesman for Liberman strongly denied the allegations, though he declined to give a full different version of events.

December 13, 2016 18:16
1 minute read.
Avigdor Liberman

Avigdor Liberman speaks at the Saban Forum. (photo credit: SABAN FORUM)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is holding up approval of plans to address the next war regarding evacuating the home front, Deputy National Security Adviser Ze’ev Tzuk-Ram told the Knesset State Control Committee on Tuesday.

A spokesman for Liberman strongly denied the allegations, though he declined to give a full different version of events or to describe Liberman’s actual position on the issue.

According to Tzuk-Ram, either the security cabinet or the full cabinet have discussed the issue five times and approved a budget based on instructions from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but Liberman has explicitly blocked it.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman did not further clarify the allegations.

The Knesset session following last week’s report by State Comptroller Joseph Shapira slamming the government, Defense Ministry and National Security Council for holding up setting evacuation plans for as many as 300,000 civilians living on border areas close to rocket threats in the event of war.

The report said the “hotel guests” program for finding temporary quarters for evacuated citizens was approved in 2012, but that neither the Interior Ministry, Finance Ministry, IDF nor local authorities have moved the program forward at anywhere near the pace that would facilitate 300,000 citizens to actually evacuate to new quarters.

In addition to the evacuation issue, committee chairwoman Karin Elharar said the report “raised a disturbing picture because there is no multi-year plan for preparations; there are disagreements between the government ministries over authority; the bomb-shelters are defective; there is a lack of early-warning sirens; and governmental readiness for an evacuation is only partial.”

She added: “In the next war, civilians will be abandoned – just like in the last war.”

MK Eyal Ben Reuven (Zionist Union) sounded a similar theme, stating: “The government plays with words but abandons its residents,” while MK Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid) warned that, unlike Gaza-corridor residents some of whom have bomb-shelters, northern-border residents have no similar defenses.

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