MK: Media, Politicians Ignore ‘Out of Town’ Building Safety Issues

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli rescue services search through the rubble after a building site collapsed in Tel Aviv, Israel September 5, 2016. REUTERS/Nir Elias
Israeli rescue services search through the rubble after a building site collapsed in Tel Aviv, last Monday. (Reuters/Nir Elias)

Two of the victims of the Tel Aviv parking structure collapse are to be laid to rest Monday. The two – Oleg Mishalov and Roslan Issakov – are residents of Akko, and they will be interred in the cemetery there Monday afternoon.

The collapse of the four-story parking structure made headlines in Israel for a week, as well as around the world – but similar things happen on a regular basis and they are barely reported, according to Kulanu MK Eli Alalouf, chairman of the Knesset Labor and Welfare Committee. Speaking at a session of the committee in which the tragedy was discussed, Alalouf said that the reason so much had been said about it was because it took place in Tel Aviv.

“It happened in a neighborhood that is one of the hearts of Israeli high-tech, in a project that was being carried out by well-known, wealthy ‘celebrity’ contractors, in a well-developed city and in an expensive neighborhood,” said Alalouf. “It would not have been as well-reported if it happened elsewhere” – like in the north or south, in peripheral areas where there is much less incentive for the media to cover the story.

A recent report by the State Comptroller castigated the lack of supervision at building sites. According to official figures, there are 184 construction supervisors in Israel, responsible for over 12,000 building sites – meaning that each one is responsible for over 700 sites each, the report said. Alalouf said he has long worried about the situation, and that over the past year has held no fewer than seven hearings on the matter. “We went to the head of the Civil Service, asking that he hire more inspectors, but for whatever reason, he was unable or unwilling to do so.” Now, of course, the Civil Service is feverishly hunting for new inspectors – only because of the “high profile” of the tragedy.