IDF: Local authorities misuse money meant for bomb shelters

Officer says poor condition of some shelters during war was result of using the NIS 55m. in annual funds for other purposes.

bomb shelter 298 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
bomb shelter 298 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
A total of NIS 55 million, transferred annually to the Interior Ministry and designated as funding for the upkeep of public bomb shelters, is being misused by local authorities, a high-ranking IDF officer in the Home Front Command said this week. According to the officer, local authorities, including cities and regional councils, are granted an annual budget designated to fund bomb-shelter inspectors. "The money does not go where it is supposed to," the officer said, singling out Karmiel as one example of a local council that does use the money for the purpose of maintaining shelters. "Most of the local authorities use the money for other purposes like education." The officer said that State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss was investigating the Home Front Command allegations and was looking into the utilization of the funds by local authorities. The officer said that the poor condition of some of the bomb shelters - discovered during this past summer's war in Lebanon during which 4,000 rockets landed in northern Israel - was the result of the misuse of funds. Col. Yechiel Kuperstein, head of the Physical Protection Department at the Home Front Command, is in charge of supervising construction of shelters in Israeli cities. His office also heads up the construction of reinforced roofs for schools in Sderot and Gaza-belt communities. According to the officer, the Home Front Command cannot order the local authorities to properly use their funds since they do not have authority over civilian bodies. The officer said that the IDF recommended pooling all of the funds for bomb shelters together and designating one group - either the Home Front Command or the Interior Ministry - as responsible for the project.