Heads of the Forum of Frontline Communities met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak at his Tel Aviv office Thursday to discuss security issues in the north.
During the meeting the defense minister declared that only the communities located directly on the border should be considered on the front line, which angered leaders of communities located further south.
Barak opposed extending the "front line" to include Haifa and the entire north, and thus only authorities which suffered Katyusha attacks already before the Second Lebanon War will
be considered frontline communities.
Regional authority heads from Kiryat Shmona, Ma'a lot, Shlomi and the northern regional councils attended the meeting, which chiefly addressed security and budget issues.
Barak noted that the north was "quiet" at the moment, but Israel must be ready for any situation. Community leaders said the defense minister stressed the importance of holding such meetings regularly.
The heads of non-frontline communities in the north said they were not surprised by Barak's statements. They said they petitioned the High Court of Justice demanding that the government explain why it is not extending the front line to include communities further from the border.
"If Barak had served as defense minister during the Second Lebanon War, he would know exactly which communities were on the front line. We oppose his stance, and therefore we petitioned the courts," Akko mayor Shimon Lankri told Ynet.
He said that if there was another war, the circumstance of the previous war were sure to repeat themselves.
Carmiel mayor Adi Eldar said the days of defining the front line as seven kilometers from the northern border had passed.
"In the Second Lebanon War, Carmiel residents absorbed over 200 Katyushas, 30 homes were destroyed and hundreds more were damaged. The suffering here was no less than in Nahariya, Ma'alot or any other town in the north," Eldar said.
"This shows disloyalty on the part of the frontline community leaders, who want to keep to themselves the benefits they were given over the years," he added.