Yishai - blames former PM Sharon for Carmel fire
Photo: Reuters
Firefighters paying the price
Photo: AP

Yishai: Sharon government to blame for Carmel disaster

Interior minister says past government 'cancelled aerial firefighting'; suggests allocating NIS 700 million to fire services; partner of Haifa Police chief killed in blaze sues state, Yishai

Interior Minister Eli Yishai blamed former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government for the devastating fire in the Carmel region, saying it had "cancelled aerial firefighting."


During Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting, Yishai also addressed last week's state memorial ceremony in honor of those killed in the wildfire, during which bereaved families demanded that he be removed.


"I am willing to take any insult, but I will not allow any attack against the heroes who sacrificed their lives and the bereaved families," he said.


On Thursday Ynet reported that of the NIS 350 million (about $98 million) designated for Israel's fire services, only NIS 100 million (about $28 million) will be transferred immediately.


Yishai suggested allocating NIS 700 million ($224 million) to the fire services. Over the weekend he said NIS 350 million "would not provide even a partial solution to the issue of the home front's preparedness for emergencies and disasters."


A source close to former PM Sharon said Yishai "wanted to blame the last government he wasn't a minister in – which was the Sharon government between 2003 and 2006."


Yishai's office denied the claim, saying "the minister was a member of Sharon's cabinet which cancelled aerial firefighting services, but he and the other Shas ministers voted against cancelling the actual firefighting services."


Meanwhile, the partner of Haifa Police Chief Ahuva Tomer, who perished in the fire, filed a damages claim against the State and Yishai. "This lawsuit is against elements in the government who left the state and its citizens exposed to the fire," the lawsuit read.


"This criminal neglect continued for years, with total disregard by the ruling system to the basic security needs of the State of Israel's citizens."


According to Rosen, the government's conduct brought about the disaster in the Carmel. "Tomer acted fearlessly to save lives…But she paid with her life due to the defendant's failures," the lawsuit reads.


Addressing Yishai, Rosen said the interior minister failed to implement the recommendations of the "various commissions" and did not prevent the fire services from nearly going bankrupt.


"(Yishai) was directly responsible for the death of Rosen's partner," according to the lawsuit.


Rosen stressed that any compensation he would receive would be used to commemorate of the late Haifa Police chief.


Ahiya Raved, Keren Natanzon contributed to the report




פרסום ראשון: 01.09.11, 11:13
 new comment
This will delete your current comment