Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan announced the expected appointment of Major-General (res.) Dan Ronen as Home Front Defense Ministry director general, even though it appears that Ronen feels that this office is unnecessary and was established only for political reasons.
In an op-ed published on Ynet in August 2012, Ronen claimed that the ministry was not established "from pure recognition to care for and protect the people, and has not brought on any changes towards the next war."
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The appointment still requires the approval of the cabinet and the Senior Appointments Committee headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Jacob Turkel, and as of now there are no expected obstacles to the appointment. Ronen has extensive experience in the field of security, which includes heading the police's North District during the Second Lebanon War.
However, his appointment as director general of a ministry he claimed to be unnecessary brings up questions. Ronen is to replace Gabi Ofir, who announced his resignation due to major differences with Minister Erdan.
In the same op-ed on Ynet, Ronen called to transfer the powers of the Home Front Ministry to the Public Security Ministry. "The conclusion is clear," Ronen explained, "those who routinely operate the rescue services should also do so in times of war and emergency. The system, which is used in most civilized countries, and has proven to be effective, should be done in Israel as well."
He further noted that "not only does the ministry not contribute to the preparedness of the home front in times of emergency; it complicates and gets in the way of those who are already working in this field."
At that time, Avi Dichter was appointed as home front minister, an odd position which was brought about while Ehud Barak broke up the Labor party, and the four who left with him were appointed as ministers or deputy ministers in Netanyahu's second government.
Dan Ronen responded: "As someone who has many years of experience in the field of home front defense, I can say it is vital to have an office to keep the home front strong. Unfortunately, this was not the case in the few past years, however when Minister Erdan took office, it seemed there is significant change in the perception and functioning of the ministry.
Erdan pointed out the weaknesses in the ministry's operation and started treating them, while the ministry is given more powers, posts and budgets. The situation today is different than in the past, and today the office has tools to lead significant processes in the home front defense field, and I am glad for the opportunity to be part of these processes."
Minister Erdan said in response: "There is no connection between the state of the ministry at the time Ronen's article was published, when indeed it seemed the ministry lacks budget and powers, to the state of the ministry today. The office stands independent with a budget of hundreds of millions of shekels, and the home front bill is at the latest stages of legislation, and would further establish the ministry's authority."
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