Yishai: Deal reached on extra NIS 300m. for firefighters

Interior minister says government preparing plan to rehabilitate Fire and Rescue Service; budget expected to increase by NIS 300 million.

Eli Yishai 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Eli Yishai 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Thursday said he had reached an agreement with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and the head of the Prime Minister's Office, Eyal Gabai, on providing millions of shekels to rehabilitate the country's Fire and Rescue Service.
Yishai said the government would prepare a plan to rehabilitate the system, and that it could be passed in January.
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The plan includes improvements in fire fighting equipment and an increase of NIS 300 million in the budget for the fire fighting services.
Earlier Thursday, the fire fighting services criticized the Finance Committee's approval on Wednesday of the state budget for the next two years.
The services said it asked for half a billion shekels to rehabilitate the failing fire fighting system, after the Carmel fire.
Opposition MKs complained that the government had favored yeshiva students over firefighters, but despite their protests, the Knesset Finance Committee approved the state budget for 2011-2012 on Wednesday evening by a vote of 10-4.
The two-year budget is expected to be brought to the plenum next week for its second and third readings.

At the opening of the hearing, Finance Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) Gafni asked Treasury Budget Director Udi Nissan to report on his office’s plans to improve the budget for the Fire and Rescue Service. Nissan replied that although the addition to the fire fighting budget was not in the new budget itself, the Finance Ministry was committed to hand over the necessary funds in the coming months.
Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report.