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By Arie Egozi

In recent years, we have been repeatedly warning here that the Israeli home front is not prepared for an emergency. But in Israel, as in Israel, whoever runs the country hears the warnings and does nothing.

This week, over the backdrop of the tension in the southern and northern borders, the subject has been in the headlines again, but as before – nothing will change.

In 2014, the Israeli government decided to close the ministry grotesquely named the Ministry of Home Front Defense.

This is what I wrote at the time: “Too little and too late. Finally, the minister with the meaningless title Home Front Defense understood that it was a bad joke that eventually might cost lives.

Gilad Erdan, the Home Front Defense Minister, recommended to the Prime Minister to close the ministry which he heads and asked to terminate his role by May 31. Erdan spoke to Netanyahu in a meeting just before Passover.

In a letter he sent to Prime Minister Netanyahu, Erdan claimed that the Ministry of Home Front Defense had completed its role and that its units should be transferred to the Ministry of Defense. The factors that led to this recommendation, according to Erdan, were the Ministry’s lack of budgets, and the Ministry of Defense’s disapproval of the regulation of the Home Front authority.

Erdan stressed in his letter that ‘the home front requires a sole major function responsible for it, with all the required authorities, the splitting of authority among the various ministries does not allow me to prepare the home front in the most professional manner. The home front condition is more important for me than the continuing arm twisting situation,’ he claimed.

This was an appropriate step, but it did not solve the problem. Now, a clear decision by Netanyahu is needed, and he is not in a hurry. An immediate decision must be taken who is responsible for the home front, and supply that entity with all the required measures.

This was only a small first step towards the ending of the farce, now is the time for rapid action – and this is the part that usually doesn’t work in Israel”.

As said, this was in 2014. Last week, the headlines exclaimed again that the home front was not prepared.

In 2016, the State Comptroller, the retired judge Yosef Shapira, published a severe report regarding the preparedness to home front defense, in which he wrote that he found “gaps, some of them major, in the preparedness in the spheres of the physical protection, the detection, alert and even evacuation of population, which might increase the risk to citizens’ lives in the event of a warfare incident.”

Since the beginning of the year, several discussions were held regarding this subject in the Knesset and other agencies. There are plenty of discussions, but fewer deeds.

By the way, following the gas attacks in Syria, after Damascus had allegedly destroyed its chemical weapon agent stockpiles, a question was raised about the logic behind the annulation of the protection kits for the population in Israel.

In sum, the situation has improved, but only marginally. There are a lot of discussions but much fewer deeds. And even when decisions are taken, such as the protection kit annulation, today they seem, somewhat, out of context.

Arie Egozi, iHLS Editor-in-Chief