The government decided Sunday to form a new governmental branch – the National Emergency Administration – to be put in charge of coordinating the various government, security, emergency and civil services in times of national crisis.
Formed as one of the lessons learnt from the Second Lebanon War, the administration would be designed to provide the home front with an immediate response in cases of war, mass emergencies or natural disasters.
Coordinating between the Prime Minister's Office, the police, the military, Magen David Adom emergency services and various municipal services, the new administration would have an independent budget, thus eliminating the need to allocate special funds for home front management in times of crisis.
Should the need arise, the administration's first action would be to prevent any public confusion as to whom people are supposed to contact for information or assistance.
Heading the new administration would be Brigadier-General (Res) Ze'ev Tzuk-Ram, who previously served in the National Security Council.
His team includes six others and they are expected to present the government with an initial outline for the administration's work within 90 days.
Deputy Defense Minister MK Matan Vilna'i (Labor-Meimad) told Ynet he expects the National Emergency Administration to be up and running by the end of 2008 – or the beginning of 2009 at the latest.
"We want to prevent what happened during the war (when every element operated individually) from happening again…the new administration would be the command center for all major decisions regarding the home front, in case of a national emergency," he added.