Home Front Command earthquake drill.
(photo credit: Hadas Parush)
State Comptroller Joseph Shapira on Wednesday published a report on issues
relating to the IDF, the Defense Ministry, the West Bank and the
military-industrial sector. The report focuses on issues ranging from the
readiness of the home front in the event of an attack to pollution of the
environment due to lack of oversight by the responsible government
Shapira handed the report to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein
at 9:15 a.m.
In the fourth chapter of the new report, titled “Readiness
in Time of Emergency,” the comptroller found Israel must step up efforts to
consolidate home front preparedness efforts under a single body, in order to
better ensure that Israel is able to protect its “essential national
infrastructure” in times of emergency.
The report states that while the
Home Front Defense Ministry was meant to improve readiness, it has instead added
to the lack of clarity on who is responsible for what in times of
Due to insufficient amount of protective gear distributed to
the public, the government must, as soon as possible, assess how to better
distribute the gear, the report states.
The government must work quickly
to ensure that the cellular system used to inform Israelis in time of emergency
is up to speed, according to the chapter.
In a section evaluating the
environmental performance of Israel Military Industries and Israel Aerospace
Industries, the state comptroller slammed these two companies as well as
relevant government authorities for allowing contaminants from their factories
to continually infect area soil and groundwater – stressing that these behaviors
constitute a grave public health and environmental hazard.
the comptroller criticized IMI for failing to evacuate and clean up an abandoned
site of theirs in Haifa. Meanwhile, an IMI plant in Givon has been releasing the
toxin perchlorate for years into its surrounding soil and continues to pose a
risk to drinking water in Rehovot as well as regional orange groves, the audit
Despite an awareness of the situation, the Water Authority,
Environmental Protection Ministry, Health Ministry and Agriculture Ministry have
done little to curb the dangers, it said.
As far as IAI is concerned, the state comptroller criticized the company for
allowing contaminants from its operational units to pollute the Ben-Gurion
Airport sewage treatment facility – a circumstance for which the audit censured
the Environment Ministry.
Regarding the West Bank, the report said that
there are significant deficiencies between authorities dealing with illegal
construction, theft of water, illegally permitting Palestinians to be present in
Israeli towns and traffic law enforcement.
The report complained that it
appeared that in the West Bank there is an atmosphere of “every man does what is
right in his own eyes.”
It blasted the absence of criminal investigations
into illegal settler building and said that the lack of manpower for collecting
lease fees meant that half-a-billion shekels have been lost annually from
failure to collect fees.
According to the report, 87 Jewish settlements
have failed to pay fees and 95 percent of Palestinians who rent from Israel have
not paid fees.
The report discusses defects in oversight over weapons
exports, such as failure to inspect weapons exports for compliance with both
domestic and international standards and failure to enforce rules regarding
It said that aspects of the Defense Ministry’s involvement
slow down the process of exporting weapons.
While the report credited the
Defense Ministry with improving its oversight of its own budget and coordinating
its budget with the Finance Ministry, it still indicated that there were
deficiencies and needed improvement in these areas.
discusses defects in the state’s coordination between agencies dealing with
missile defense, while another chapter addresses aspects of the state’s Atomic
Energy Agency, though that chapter is classified and was not distributed to the
press or the public.
One of the more embarrassing statistics reported was
that the state is paying millions of shekels per year to cover parking tickets
for illegal parking by IDF personnel.
Other topics covered by the court
include problems with the IDF’s system for court martials, the IDF’s provision
of dental services, loose supervision of the use of defense establishment
vehicles for personal means and information security lapses in a number of
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.
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