Israel — Following the Carmel fire disaster, the Knesset plenum approved in a preliminary hearing on Wednesday a law that would bring significant structural changes to the Israel Fire and Rescue Services.
The law implements recommendations from a committee that examined the structure of the fire services in 1998, calling to turn the fire services from a municipal service, as it is today, to a national service.
The new law is expected to replace the current outdated law that has been implemented in Israel since 1956.
The bill was brought forth as a private proposal by MK David Azulay, the chairman of the Knesset Interior Committee.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai said during the discussions that his office is expected to soon present a parallel government bill, though said it is being delayed due to the Foreign Ministry’s refusal to approve it.
Azulay said that they have done a good job “if the government presents a bill following the massive wildfire and following my proposal.
“We are here in case the government does not follow through on its obligations,” he said.
Azualy said that he proposed that the bill be passed even though he opposes several clauses in it, and following the Carmel fire he intends to push to change those clauses during committee discussions.
Last week’s massive brushfire in the Carmel pointed to serious problems in Israel’s fire services, with the State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss detailing its lack of manpower, equipment, and inadequate budget among other problems in a report.