A Knesset Research and Information Center report obtained by Ynet shows that only four out of the seven planes purchased for the Elad Firefighting Squadron are operational, and that they were obtained without a thorough consultation with professional elements.
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The document was written ahead of a hearing that took place at the Knesset's Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on Wednesday. The discussion addressed the state of the fire fighting service, including the Elad squadron.
Prime minister with firefighting planes (Photo: GPO)
According to the document, the squadron possesses two planes that are capable of drawing water from seas and lakes in addition to five regular planes.
The two special aircraft are not operational because the pilots who are set to fly them have yet to complete their training.
The report also showed that the two planes can only land on a calm sea surface or on lakes, and their compatibility with Israel's conditions is questionable.
'PM built wall of lies'The document reveals that planes were bought prior to consulting with the national firefighting service, which might explain their incompatibility. Moreover, the document criticizes the fact that the amount of fire retardant materials currently stocked in Israel is well bellow the required minimum.
Fire and Rescue Service chief Shahar Ayalon said on Wednesday that the firefighters will be able to deal with a massive blaze if one happens during the summer.
"We believe that with improved efficiency, distribution of forces and adequate reinforcement we will be able to deal with it properly," he said.
MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during Wednesday's debate, saying that "this is Netanyahu and the government's second Lebanon War."
"This was mainly done for public relations, mainly for the image; they didn't bring planes here, they brought cardboard that served as a background for photographs of the prime minister," Hasson said of the hearing.
Director General of the Ministry of Public Security Yaakov Ganot had difficulties during the debate to adress the claims that the planes are unsuitable to putting out a massive fire. "It is a theory I am not familiar with," he said. "I don't know what it is based on. I cannot argue with something I'm not familiar with."
MK Carmel Shama (Likud) responded to the report prior to the hearing, saying that "I'm not sure which situation is scarier: a state that doesn't have a firefighting squadron, or a state that doesn't have a suitable one."
"It is now clear to everyone that Netanyahu built a wall of lies and not a firefighting squadron," a spokesman for Kadima said.
"Netanyahu… evaded the national inquiry committee that wanted to examine his failing conduct and his government's neglect, and now it turns out he knew why. The sad truth proves what Netanyahu is trying to hide – Israel's prime minister has been busy all this time with media spin, and nothing else."
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