Israel must consolidate emergency efforts to prepare for future threats, Shapira says

Israel must consolidate its various home front preparedness efforts under a central authority to better prepare for the future threats of missile and rocket attacks on population centers and natural disasters.

July 18, 2013 00:53
2 minute read.
State Comptroller Joseph Shapira at a conference in Herzliya.

Joseph Shapira at IDC debate 370. (photo credit: Sarit Font)


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Israel must consolidate its various home front preparedness efforts under a central authority to better prepare for the future threats of missile and rocket attacks on population centers and natural disasters, according to a report on the defense establishment the State Comptroller’s Office issued on Wednesday.

In the fourth chapter of the new report – titled “Readiness in Time of Emergency” – State Comptroller Joseph Shapira describes the efforts Israel must make to consolidate relevant government agencies under a single body in order to better ensure that Israel is able to protect its “essential national infrastructure” in times of emergency.

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The report also states that while the Home Front Defense Ministry was expected to improve the nation’s state of readiness, it has instead contributed to what it says is a lack of clarity on who is responsible for what in time of emergency.

Due to the insufficient supply of protective gear against unconventional warfare that has been distributed to the public, the government must determine as soon as possible how to facilitate wider distribution, the report states. The government must also quickly act to ensure that the cellular system used to inform Israelis in times of emergency is up to speed, the report says.

Shapira does praise the steps taken by subsequent Israeli prime ministers since the Second Lebanon War in 2006 to better prepare the home front for future disaster, but emphasizes that due to the continued threat posed to civilians, the government must do as much as possible to ensure that previous recommendations are promptly implemented.

The report said that the findings were gathered between January and July 2012 by examining the IDF, its Home Front Command and IAF, the Defense Ministry, the National Emergency Council and the National Security Council.

According to Shapira’s report, “significant gaps in the emergency readiness of the home front” require that Israel deal with these problems as quickly as possible.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office responded that “the Home Front Command is under the command of the General Staff both in times of emergency and otherwise. In terms of protection of the civilian population the Home Front Command is under the instruction of the Defense Minister as part of the civilian defense law.

“During emergencies and routine days, the General Staff and the General Staff forum work according to instructions and policy from the political echelon. The issue of distribution of protective kits is dependent on the budget allocated to this purpose.”

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