Jan 29, 2012

Ministerial Responsibility For Carmel Fire

Today's big news is the State Comptroller report singling out Ministers Yuval Steinitz and Eli Yishai for the way they mishandled the Carmel fire 14 months ago. The report supposedly blames them personally but only gives them indirect responsibility. The report also does not call on them to resign, but expects social pressure to force Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to fire them.

Steinitz is under fire for having delayed allocation of budgets to the fire services. He delayed allocation of funds because he was insisting on reforms. Lindenstrauss is asserting that the funds should have been distributed parallel to the insistence of reforming the system.

Yishai is under fire for failing to prepare the fire services for emergency situations. Lindenstrauss rejects Yishai's claim that he did everything possible in his power and delays or lack of funding were beyond his control.

Will they be fired? Will they resign? Will they refuse? Only time will tell. Without the Comptroller saying it must happen they have an easy way out. This is, perhaps, the beginning of a new culture in which ministers will be held responsible for their ministries. The Comptroller did not go far enough, but it's a start.

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