Israel — Opposition leader Tzipi Livni called for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign on Wednesday in light of a scathing State Comptroller’s report concerning Israel’s fire services, released just days after the worst wildfire in Israel’s history.
“In a civilized country, like Israel should be, the State Comptroller report would be enough for those responsible to pay a price,” Livni said at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya.
“Its called resignation, and the responsibility starts at the top,” she added.
In the report, released ahead of its scheduled time due to the devastating Carmel forest fire in which 42 people were killed and more than 17,000 people were evacuated from their homes, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss defined the situation of the fire department as a continuous and serious failure, which could destroy the lives and property of many people.
The report placed the bulk of the blame on Interior Minister Eli Yishai, as well as Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, responsible for the national emergency services, and stated that they must immediately reverse the neglect.
Speaking before Livni at the meeting of heads of local councils at the IDC, Netanyahu said that the State Comptroller report would be applied immediately and with decisiveness, and stressed that a bill for the establishment of a national firefighting service would be presented before the Knesset within 10 days.
Livni, who was not satisfied with Netanyahu’s guarantee, said that “the Carmel [fire] failure exposed the malfunction, the inability to make constitutional decisions and back them with a planned budget for many years in advance. The failure cost human lives and once again exposed the Israeli politics in all its shame and shambles.”
“I have no doubt that the prime minister wanted to handle the disaster and do the best to stop the fire,” Livni said, adding that “but then we saw how professional management turns into public relations, how the professional aspect disappeared and became a media charade.”