Lindenstrauss delays ‘harsh’ report on Carmel fire

Cabel mocks Netanyahu, calling him ‘muscular visionary’; Comptroller: Report is among most detailed and largest in Israel's history.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN,
December 21, 2011 05:34
2 minute read.
Man surveys Carmel fire at Kibbutz Beit Oren

Carmel Fire 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)

 
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State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss delayed the release of a lengthy report he is writing about last December’s Carmel Fire because “its findings are becoming increasingly harsh,” he told Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday.

Lindenstrauss explained that the report on the responses to the fire is shaping up to be one of the longest, most detailed and most complex that he can remember. While he had earlier promised to release it by the end of the year, it is now only expected in late January at the earliest.

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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich are all expected to be targeted by the report. They are all being given time to respond to the report and explain their side.

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Rivlin said while there are fierce arguments about the responsibility for the fire’s casualties, all sides agree that they must wait for the Comptroller’s report, which will shed light on the facts and the circumstances of the tragedy.

“The state comptroller has become the public’s eye, supervising all that is being done and pointing out what must be fixed,” Rivlin said, at a meeting in which Lindenstrauss presented his report on local authorities.

The Likud fought back on Tuesday against Kadima’s charges that Netanyahu had utilized a memorial ceremony for fire victims for political gain. Kadima had condemned what it called biased narration at the ceremony in which Netanyahu was introduced with superlatives.

“Until I heard the attacks on the prime minister by opposition MKs, who are doing their job, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the narration,” Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said. “When you hear it in context [emcee] Dan Kaner just told the truth about what the prime minister did.”

The head of the Likud’s response team, MK Ophir Akunis, called the press coverage of the controversy “shallow, pathetic, and not serious.”

He predicted that the criticism of Netanyahu would boomerang in his favor.

But opposition MKs became increasingly creative in their criticism of Netanyahu on Tuesday. Labor faction chairman Eitan Cabel suggested some additions to the “great superlatives and amazing words of praise” said about Netanyahu at the memorial ceremony, explaining that when he watched it, he understood that all of his criticism of the prime minister was “foolishness and nonsense.”

“I’d like to add to what was said yesterday and say that you are great, you are a hero, you are amazing, muscular, strong and sensitive.

Your hair is flowing and black, you are a better footballer than [Lionel] Messi, you jump higher than Michael Jordan, you are the national visionary, a light unto the nations,” Cabel said sarcastically, during the time allotted for minute-long speeches in the Knesset plenum.

The Labor MK then suggested that the first of April be a national day of praise for Netanyahu.

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