Fire victim's relatives urge A-G to probe gov't officials

Father, father-in-law of Topaz Even-Hen Klein want Netanyahu, Barak, Steinitz, Yishai to be probed for negligence leading to fatal inferno.

December 13, 2010 14:19
2 minute read.
Firefighters putting out blaze near Tirat Hacarmel

311_awesome wildfire photo. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)


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The government came under increased pressure to take responsibility for the Carmel fire disaster on Monday after the father and fatherin- law of Topaz Even-Hen Klein, one of the Prisons Service cadets who died in last week’s blaze, wrote to Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein, asking him to order police to investigate senior officials for allegedly causing the cadets’ deaths by negligence.

The letter, signed by former police commanders Ze’ev Even-Hen and Haim Klein, said police should investigate Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak for the 43 deaths.

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“If the law does not find those who are responsible, we will find ourselves facing more negligent decisions which will cause a massive loss of human life,” the letter said.

The two cited the recent State Comptroller’s Report on the readiness of the Fire and Rescue Service, which slammed the government for failing to learn “most of the lessons from the Second Lebanon War,” and that “the deficiencies were not corrected, and once again, a lack of coordination between ruling authorities can be seen. The ‘foot-dragging’ of those in power over the issue and the ongoing debate over the [state’s] failures amplified the catastrophe.”

The letter continued, “As a result of the fire which took place in the Carmel, the lives of 43 people ended prematurely.

The deaths of the victims was not fate, but was caused following grave negligence by the prime minister, interior minister, finance minister and defense minister. There is a causal relationship between management failures and the deaths of the 43 killed in the fire disaster.”

The letter added that failures by the prime minister and ministers found expression in the lack of resources made available by the government for the Fire and Rescue Service and the inability to impose structural reform on the organization.

“Experts have warned about these issues for years, especially after the previous fires on the Carmel, that the Fire Service did not have ample resources to tackle huge fires, and that a disaster could result,” the letter said.

“We therefore have sufficient evidence to launch an investigation against the prime minister, interior minister, finance minister and defense minister into causing death by negligence,” it concluded.

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