(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Firefighters have severed ties with the national Fire and Rescue Services in
response to what they described as a “trampling” on their rights by the Public
Security Ministry on Monday.
The Israeli Professional Firefighters
Organization (IPFO) removed personnel from the Services’ Rishon Lezion
headquarters as part of the protest.
The move came after Public Security
Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch submitted plans to the government to reform the
way firefighters work and are organized.
But the IPFO said the minister’s
plans “don’t solve operational problems, [which is why] the Service is today it
was on the eve of the  Carmel fire disaster.”
The firefighters are
demanding that Aharonovitch withdraw his proposals and rewrite plans with their
An IPFO spokesman accused the minister of “fooling us,” adding
that Aharonovitch had promised to consult them before making changes, but went
ahead and filed proposals without doing so.
Responding to the attack, the
public security minister said the move by firefighters was “severe,” adding that
it would have “immediate operational consequences.”
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“The isn’t the first
time that the firefighters’ organization is taking one-sided steps during
negotiations, hurting the public first, firefighters second... and a process
which is aimed at setting up a national firefighting agency,” the ministry said
in a statement.
The statement added that Aharonovitch’s proposals were in
line with past reports by the state comptroller, which highlighted serious
shortcomings in Israeli firefighting resources and called for several immediate
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