Photo: Amir Cohen
Home Front Commander Yitzhak Gershon
Photo: Amir Cohen
Makhteshim factory at Ramat Hovav
Fortification 'not a magic solution'
Home Front Commander addresses State Control Committee, says some deficiencies addressed, others not home front’s responsibility
Home Front Commander Yitzhak Gershon participated in the Knesset’s State Control Committee meeting Monday, which was prompted by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss’ harsh report regarding the home front’s performance during the past year.


During his speech, Gershon said that all of the deficiencies under his responsibility were immediately addressed after the Second Lebanon War, and in light of the investigations held.


However, he added that there were still “gaps bigger than us, and our ability to influence them is small”.


Commenting on the relentless threat of rocket fire in the south, Gershon said, “The assumption that there is a possibility of fortification against a direct hit by Qassam is populistic, since the rockets vary and their impact is different.”


“It’s not a magic solution,” he added.


Gershon also addressed the issue of accidents occurring in connection with dangerous materials, such as last week’s incident at the Makhteshim factory in Ramat Hovav, when the factory's pesticide container exploded, sending a cloud of phosphoric acid – considered toxic and extremely hazardous – into the air.


“The fortification against wartime threats – which is under the jurisdiction of the home front – is not a solution against accidents. An accident like the one in Ramat Hovav could happen any day,” Gershon said.


"Everyday Israel transports highly dangerous materials in trains that travel in populated centers. The Home Front Command has nothing to do with this. MKs should not take the matter lightly – we are facing an issue that poses a threat to the citizens of the State of Israel."


Gershon, who was censured in the state comptroller's annual report over the army's mishandling of dangerous materials during last summer's war with Hizbullah, dismissed the criticism against him.


"Throughout my life I excelled in different positions and fought for the people of Israel. My name has been linked to media reports about the state comptroller, but unfortunately I was not the Home Front Command Chief when the state comptroller criticized the industry in 2003," he said.


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