Liberman Accused of Blocking Homefront Preparedness

YERUSHALAYIM -

A national security official accused Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman of obstructing evacuation plans on the home front in the event of war, though no reason was given for it.

Despite several cabinet discussions of the matter and a go-ahead from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Deputy National Security Adviser Ze’ev Tzuk-Ram told the Knesset State Control Committee on Tuesday that Liberman has blocked action on the plan, The Jerusalem Post reported.

A spokesman for Liberman denied the allegation, but was unable to clarify the minister’s actual position on the issue. The prime minister’s spokesman was also not forthcoming as to what the problem is.

The committee met after last week’s report by State Comptroller Joseph Shapira cited the Defense Ministry and National Security Council for failing to finalize plans for evacuation of as many as 300,000 civilians living in vulnerable border areas.

The report said the “hotel guests” program for finding temporary quarters for evacuated citizens was approved in 2012, but that none of the relevant government bodies have done much to prepare for it.

Committee chairwoman Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid) further excoriated the government for being negligent generally in taking care of the home front. The comptroller’s criticisms, she said, “raised a disturbing picture because there is no multi-year plan for preparations; there are disagreements between the government ministries over authority; the bomb-shelters are defective; there is a lack of early-warning sirens; and governmental readiness for an evacuation is only partial.”

“In the next war, civilians will be abandoned — just like in the last war,” she lamented.