Home front should be under Internal Security, report says

The government should set up one central authority to prepare the home front for disaster, according to a report released by the Knesset's subcommittee on the home front Monday. The report, which was assembled by subcommittee chairman Ami Ayalon, suggested that the centralized authority should be organized as a branch of the Internal Security Ministry. "The Defense Ministry's control of the Home Front Command is inherently problematic since there may be a conflict of interests between the needs of the civilians and the needs of the military," said the report. In the past 15 years, a number of reports have recommended that control of the home front be removed from the Defense Ministry. However, budgetary concerns have prevented the government from taking concrete steps, said Foreign Defense and Committee Member MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud). "We have all known, and it has been suggested to us several times, that the home front should not be a part of the Defense Ministry. There is a huge budget to consider, and the allocation of resources is not simple. It is not clear if the Internal Security Ministry is capable of controlling the home front under its current infrastructure," said Steinitz. Members of the subcommittee said they were interested in continuing their work by overseeing the rehabilitation of the home front. "We pretty much all came to the same conclusions regarding the insufficiency of the current structure of the home front system," said Ayalon. "Had the government paid attention to these previous recommendations and implemented them, we could have spared ourselves many of the gruesome pictures of the last war." The report also recommended that the internal security minister should be given the power to declare a special situation in the home front. During the last summer's war with Lebanon, the government resisted declaring an emergency situation for the North, angering many residents there who were in need of the funds and tactical support that an emergency situation status grants them.