´Steinitz repeating fire services mistake´ (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Gilad Morag Published: 02.17.12, 13:53)
YNet News - Yediot Achronot
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Defense establishment, local authorities criticize finance minister
following budget cuts which they believe, may lead to cancelation of
major Home Front exercise
The defense establishment and local authorities have criticized the
finance minister following cuts to the budget which they believe, may
lead to the cancelation of a major Home Front exercise. Sources
within the defense establishment said Friday: "Minister Steinitz is
making the same mistake he made with the fire services. One State
Comptroller report doesn´t seem to be enough."
Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the annual national Home Front
exercise would not take place in 2012 due to budget concerns. The
annual exercise led by the Home Front Command, includes emergency
services like Magen David Adom, the Fire and Rescue Services and
The variety of participants is due to the fact that the exercise
simulates not just missile attacks as it did in the past, but
earthquakes and other scenarios as well.
However, the Finance Ministry rejected the criticism: "The defense
establishment has received a budget increase of billions of shekels
in the 2012 budget. Making threats claiming that the IDF will not be
making acquisitions or that exercises will be cancelled is an
outrage. This is the biggest budget the Defense Ministry has ever
The exercise named Turning Point has been held since the Second
Lebanon War in an effort to improve home front preparedness after
drawing lessons from the war five and a half years ago. The exercise
usually lasts a few days.
Minister Matan Vilnai has promised to make every effort to find the
necessary funds in order to be able to hold the exercise as planned
and added that it was "a cornerstone of the national preparedness for
"Its central objective is to improve the State of Israel´s
preparedness for earthquakes and national disasters, something which
has not yet been done, and so I will not give up on holding it due to
considerations of sources within the Finance Ministry."
Local authorities have expressed concerns over the cancellation of
the exercise. The Chairman of Union of Local Authorities, Shlomo
Buchbut warned: "We are starting to go bankrupt; first they decided
to cancel orders in periphery city factories, now they want to cancel
the exercise in order to force the treasury to increase the budget."
Buchbut added that it was time for the prime minister to intervene.
Yoav Zitun contrbuted to the report (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth
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