A girl stands inside a bomb shelter in Ashkelon 311 (R).
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
An audit into the workings of local authorities has exposed a litany of serious
failures and deficiencies in municipalities across the country, State
Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss said on Tuesday.
In a detailed report,
which was presented to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Lindenstrauss said local
authorities are dangerously underprepared for emergencies, have serious
deficiencies in child protection services and caring for weaker populations,
including the elderly.
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In a special chapter on home front preparedness,
Lindenstrauss slammed the Interior Ministry, Home Front Command and National
Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) for failing to prepare local authorities
for war and other emergencies, leaving Israelis across the country vulnerable to
The audit, carried out in 2010, also revealed that hundreds of
thousands of Israelis lack emergency bomb shelters, many schools and
kindergartens do not have adequate bomb protection, shelters in several
municipalities lack disabled access and many are poorly
Lindenstrauss called on all the responsible bodies to cooperate
with each other to determine their responsibilities regarding home front
The report criticized local authorities for lacking clear
guidelines for social workers and for failing to share information about
suspected abuse victims, which he said leaves hundreds of children and elderly
citizens at risk.
After investigating six municipalities’ child and
elderly protection services, the state comptroller concluded that welfare
officers are not receiving vital information from the police, hospitals, schools
and the general public about suspected abuse or neglect
Lindenstrauss’s audit also exposed several areas of major
inequality in the non-Jewish sector, including in recognized Beduin villages in
the Negev and in Arab towns.
Road infrastructure in Arab towns and
villages is poorly maintained compared with that in Jewish municipalities, the
The state comptroller noted that a disproportionate number
of non-Jewish Israelis are killed in traffic accidents, with non-Jewish Israelis
constituting 40 percent of road accident victims, despite their being only 20%
of the population. Lindenstrauss partly correlated these accident statistics
with poor road infrastructure, after finding this was a factor in 25-30% of
accidents involving non-Jewish Israelis.
The report noted that while the
number of Jewish Israelis killed in traffic accidents dropped by 26% from
2006-2010, for non- Jews the death toll rose by 18%.
An audit of the Abu
Basma regional council in the Negev, a new local authority established by the
Interior Ministry in 2004 to serve newly recognized Beduin villages, revealed
that the authority’s villages receive inadequate public services and have poor
Abu Basma council is responsible for 30,000 residents in
10 recognized communities as well as approximately 50,000 Beduin living in
The council only provides water to some of its
residents, the audit found, and only one village has a public system for sewage
collection in residential buildings and public institutions.
does not have a regulated garbage disposal system, so litter usually ends up in
open areas or is burned.
The report also found that family health clinics
only exist in six villages – and then only in temporary
Lindenstrauss said that receiving basic services from the
state, such as education, health services and adequate living conditions is a
basic human right, and that as Israeli citizens Beduin are entitled to the same
services as everyone else.