Video: State Comptroller criticizes the government's handling of the home front, stating that there is no justification for the late awakening/Photo: State Comptroller's Office
State Comptroller Matanyahu Engelman will publish a comprehensive audit report in December on the failures in dealing with the home front. The report will be published in an unprecedented manner in real time and in the midst of the war. Details of what to expect in the report were revealed over the past two months in visits by the comptroller to the field and in letters sent to ministers and Prime Minister Netanyahu.
At the end of October, Engelman visited the evacuees in Tiberias and the Jordan Valley, saying that "the government has failed to deal with the home front. The lack of an economic plan and the appointment of a projector is a failure that harms civilians."
The main insight from the visits was that ministers must go out into the field immediately. 250,<> evacuees have not yet returned to their homes. The previous evacuation plans were thrown away and started all over again. Sderot and Kiryat Shmona had no evacuation plans at all.
State Comptroller in northern Israel. From right: Brig. Gen. (res.) Eitan Dahan, Director of the Security Division in the State Comptroller's Office. In the middle of my son is the head of the Hermon Entrance Council. Left: State Comptroller Matanyahu Engelman/PR
Among other things, Kiryat Shmona residents were promised that they would be referred to schools in Tel Aviv, without making sure that they were even prepared for their absorption. Later, when it became clear that these schools were not prepared for this at all, a temporary school was established for the evacuees at Tel Aviv University.
During a visit to Eilat, it turned out that evacuees had to raise funds in order to rent a bus to go to funerals in central Israel. A serious problem has arisen of budgeting authorities that deal directly with citizens. Eilat added 60,13 evacuees and the number of residents doubled.
On 11.<>, the comptroller sent an unusual letter to the Prime Minister. He detailed the failures and deficiencies in the preparations for dealing with the home front: "There is no justification for the government's late awakening to deal with the home front. The criticism will turn every stone in order to reach the truth and point to the responsibility of the echelons."
The letter went on to list all the deficiencies such as the lack of a real-time economic assistance program, deficiencies in the treatment of evacuees in hotels, inadequate evacuation plans of civilians during emergencies, the lack of government representation in the affected communities, problems in budgeting in local authorities, and more.
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Kiryat Shmona students evacuated to Tel Aviv. Evacuees had to rent a bus at their own expense to attend the funerals/Reuven Castro
Another reference will be to the inherent conflict between senior Finance Ministry officials and the political echelon, a healthy situation in routine times but in times of war harms the unity of the ranks and civilians. It will be recommended to prepare a contingency plan of the Treasury for emergency assistance.
There will also be a need to rearrange the areas entitled to compensation according to geographical distance. In order to save the civil uncertainty, it will be recommended to appoint a special spokesman from the Ministry of Finance who will clarify the rights of the citizens affected each day and the timetables for dealing with them.
As stated, the report will relate only to the failures of dealing with the home front. Regarding the failures of the military side in the defense establishment, they intend to wait until the end of the war, except for the failures in dealing with the alert squads.
In response to my inquiry, the Comptroller's Office confirmed the intention to conduct an audit but refused to provide further details: "We will not wait with the audit regarding the handling of the home front until the end of the war. But despite the significant failure on the security issue, we will wait with the report on the defense establishment and at the moment we will let the IDF win."
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