Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called a special meeting yesterday to discuss the government’s preparedness for emergencies, based on the lessons learned from the latest war in the north.
Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office Raanan Dinur presented the recommendations which include the government providing essential needs such as food and medicine, and a recommendation to encourage assistance by non-governmental organizations. Other recommendations include appointing a Home Front Command officer to each city, and the assurances that all public bomb shelters are in proper condition.
In addition, the recommendations call for the creation of a new Emergency Control Center for each municipality which will be operated by the city and augmented by the Israel Defense Forces’ Home Front Command and other governmental bodies. Another recommendation calls for readiness drills to prepare the population and the systems for an emergency.
Meanwhile there are still conflicts regarding the budgetary costs of the war between the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Treasury.
In a meeting held yesterday regarding the defense budget issue with PM Olmert, Defense Minister Peretz and Treasury Minister Abraham Hirchson, the Defense Ministry requested an additional 23 billion shekels over three years to finance the war and augment the IDF’s readiness for the future. The Treasury is sharply opposed to that amount saying it will put the Israeli economy back 10 years.
The meeting concluded with a creation of a joint Defense-Treasury taskforce that will deliberate on the subject and will deliver its recommendations to the Prime Minister.