Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held a debate Sunday that focused on the issue of the government's preparedness for emergency situations, based on the lessons drawn from the war in Lebanon. Participants in the meeting recommended to the PM that in the future, the government provide the residents staying in shelters with needs and services deemed "essential," including food and medicines.
At the same time, the government will encourage the activity of volunteer groups, which will supply services that are not branded essential.
In light of the severe criticism leveled at the government's treatment of the home front during the war, it was decided in the PM's Office to look into ways in which the system's functioning could be improved in case of another military campaign.
The PM decided, in accordance with the recommendations he had been given, that a municipal control center will be erected in every town in Israel, to be operated during wartime. The setting up and manning of the centers will be assigned to the local councils, supervised by the Interior Ministry, and assisted by the Home Front Command. The Home Front Command has also been asked to carry out drills and prepare for emergencies.
In the course of the meeting, the PM instructed the Home Front Command to assign an officer to every city in Israel, while prioritizing the north. The officer will coordinate all assistance operations to the town in wartime, and provide solutions in cases where the local authority has difficulties providing the emergency services.
The PM also instructed Interior Minister Ronnie Bar-On to ensure that bomb shelters located in residential buildings are properly maintained. Olmert added that "every citizen must make sure that the shelter in his house is up to standard."