(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Knesset will hold its first discussion of the Carmel forest fire Monday,
with the subject opening the week’s plenum agenda in the late morning, Knesset
Speaker Reuven Rivlin announced Sunday afternoon.
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requests from a number of Knesset faction heads to hold a session on the matter
Wednesday, as is customary for discussions on points of order. The speaker,
however, decided to push the hearing forward and proposed that the government
close Monday’s debate with an official statement upon which the Knesset will
take a vote.
“Israel is in the midst of deep mourning,” said Rivlin. “It
is appropriate that the Knesset discuss this national tragedy and address the
significance and lessons that can be drawn from it.”
The speaker also
plans on hosting dozens of firefighters at the Knesset’s annual candle lighting
ceremony on Wednesday in appreciation of their efforts regarding the Carmel
Rivlin participated Sunday in the funeral of Israel Prisons
Service cadet Avraham Noach, a Jerusalem resident who was killed in the fire,
and whose wife, Michal, serves in the Knesset Guard.
Less than a day
after the IPS bus tragedy, Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni announced that in the
spirit of national unity, the faction would refrain from presenting its weekly
no-confidence motion against the government at the opening of the week’s plenum
session. In an official announcement delivered to the Knesset secretary, Livni
said that Israel was unified in its support of northern residents, and that it
wished to strengthen the security forces in their fire-fighting and restoration
Also on Monday, the Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Public
Diplomacy Committee will hold a hearing to coordinate aid efforts from Jewish
communities and organizations worldwide.
Committee chairman MK Danny
Danon (Likud) said that during the previous 24 hours, a number of Jewish
organizations had contacted him, asking his committee to help coordinate
donations that they were collecting to restore the Carmel region.
great ecological disaster that destroyed a unique natural gem has naturally
enlisted many Jews throughout the world to immediately work to restore the
Carmel,” said Danon Sunday.
The Interior Committee, however, announced
that it had delayed plans to hold a hearing on the fire, with committee chairman
MK David Azoulai (Shas) explaining that he would not hold the hearing “while the
firefighters, police and rescuers are endangering their lives extinguishing the
fire and while families whose loved ones were killed in the tragedy are still
burying their family members.”
Azoulai said that the committee would be
convened as soon as the emergency services’ representatives were able to come to
the Knesset for a “serious hearing.”
Azoulai added that since 2000 he had
been warning about the collapse of fire-fighting services, and that for three
straight Knesset sessions he had submitted private members’ bills in order to
raise their level.
None of his bills, he complained, had made it to their
final reading. He added that after one of the most recent committee hearings on
Israel’s fire service – held one year ago last week – he wrote letters to Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Finance Minister
Yuval Steinitz, but the only ministry that even bothered to respond was the
To further back up his point Sunday, Azoulai released eight
different documents and protocols in which he and his committee had recognized
and warned of the risks surrounding continued under-funding of the fire