Netanyahu slams State Comptroller ahead of Gaza tunnels report
PM accuses comptroller of failing to recommend creating firefighting squadron following Carmel fire. But while report was published after the fire, it did not investigate it, rather examined Israel's firefighting apparatus in general; opposition: PM trying to discredit comptroller ahead of Protective Edge report.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed State Comptroller Yosef Shapira last week ahead of the release of a report examining the Gaza tunnels threat.
"Leadership is about making decisions, not writing reports," Netanyahu said during a visit to the Hatzor Airbase, where he met with firefighting pilots amid the fires raging in the country.
Both in his comments to the media and in a post on Facebook, the prime minister claimed that in his report on the forest fire that ravaged the Carmel Mountain in 2010, the comptroller didn't recommend the establishment of an aerial firefighting squadron and that it was he, Netanyahu, who was the first to identify the need for one and acted accordingly.
"The lessons from the comptroller's report have been implemented, except for one main lesson that was not in the report. The 2010 report did not include firefighting aircraft," Netanyahu told the media during his visit to the airbase.
"I want you to try and imagine what would've happened today to the State of Israel if we didn't have firefighting aircraft. But this wasn't in the report. So the relevant question is not what was or wasn't in the report—but what is the right thing to do ... without a firefighting squadron, the country would've burned ... we don't deal with reports, we deal with results."
It is important to note, however, that the state comptroller report did not investigate the Carmel fire. The report examined Israel's firefighting apparatus in general and was prepared and written long before the fire, but published several days after.
Members of the opposition were quick to criticize the prime minister's attack on the State Comptroller, linking it to the Gaza tunnels threat report, which is expected to draw harsh criticism against Netanyahu himself, his cabinet, and the failure to prepare for the underground threat.
"The prime minister is leading a cynical and false move as part of his preparations for the report on Operation Protective Edge," said MK Erel Margalit (Zionist Union).
Fellow Zionist Union MK Yoel Hasson, who chaired the Knesset's State Control Committee in the past, said that "for Netanyahu, no statement is coincidental. He chose to attack the comptroller not out of concern for the victims of the fires, but out of concern for himself ahead of the comptroller's report on his own failures vis-à-vis the tunnels during Protective Edge."
Hasson went on to say that "Netanyahu is managing our lives from one failure to the next, and has a regular trick on how to dodge criticism—mark those who expose his failings as traitors, leftists, and now also as irresponsible people who are only after their own interests, as he had just marked the comptroller. Netanyahu is busy fighting off reports while the citizens of Israel have to deal with the outcomes."