The IDF is endangering the lives of its soldiers by failing to remove asbestos structures and ceilings from military bases, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss revealed Monday in his annual report on the defense establishment.
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In 1998, the IDF decided to demolish and replace all structures built with asbestos, considered today to be dangerous and potentially lethal and cancerous. In 2002, however, then-deputy chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Ya'alon established a commission of inquiry to investigate the delay in completing the project.
The comptroller investigated the project's status from July 2005 until February 2006 and discovered that between 2002 and 2005, only 76 percent of asbestos tiles had been removed from IDF structures. In 2006, the status remained the same after only 16% of the necessary funds to complete the project were allocated to the cause.
"Despite being aware of the dangers and risks to the health of its soldiers vulnerable to asbestos fibers, the IDF has yet to complete the removal of asbestos tiles from its bases," the comptroller wrote in the report.
In response, the IDF Spokesperson's Office released a statement: "The comptroller's directive to complete the removal of asbestos from IDF bases is in the current work program and will be completed by the end of 2007. Until today, more than 38,000 square meters have been removed at the cost of NIS 25 million."