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A disaster waiting to happen

Op-ed: The picture emerging from the latest state comptroller report on the home front’s preparedness for war it is that we are on the verge of a catastrophe. But for us Israelis, nothing seems urgent to us until it really is urgent. We are so arrogant, so sure of ourselves, that other possibilities don’t even cross our minds.

home front’s preparedness for times of emergency israel-war-photo-ido-erez

The different governments have attempted to turn the state comptrollers into a nuisance that spoils the ideal picture they try to paint for the citizens here. Their reports can be found in the cemetery of documents of this kind, in the dusty drawers of the state archives. Sometimes they adorn ministers’ book shelves, mainly when the covers are colorful and photogenic.

The latest report issued by State Comptroller Shapira discusses the home front’s preparedness for times of emergency. The picture emerging from it is that we are on the verge of a catastrophe. A large part of the population will not run into bomb shelters at a time of war, simply because there will be no shelters (not that bomb shelters are the best solution). Many of us don’t even have such a fragile form of defense, particularly during a direct hit. We will remember this horrible deficiency as we gasp on our way to find shelter.

Then we will shout: What’s going on? We will demand the appointment of a commission of inquiry. Politicians will twist the defense minister around their little finger. If we survive, we will work to dismiss the IDF chief of staff, who during the war was much busier with other matters in order to save our lives. After all, we love guilty people in uniform.

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Nothing seems urgent to us until it really is urgent. We are so arrogant, so sure of ourselves, that other possibilities don’t even cross our minds. We are busy decorating the walls of the villa in the jungle, and now all that is left is to wash the floor. Things are so great for us: Syria has fallen apart, Iraq is gone, the Palestinians have been defeated, Lebanon will be beaten by the IDF orchestra, Israel’s Arabs are praying for the wellbeing and safety of the State of Israel, their safe haven. America is trembling, Russia is dancing, the world is in a turmoil. And we have the best F-35 stealth fighters in the world.

Meanwhile, in Gaza, the Hamas people are coming up with new ideas on how to kill as many Israelis as possible in the next round. Last time, they surprised us from the bowels of the earth, and tried to surprise us in the sea and in the air as well. They will do the same, this time after learning lessons, in the next challenge of fire. And we, who know how to turn sewage into champagne, will survive these affairs too. One comptroller report more or one comptroller report less, we survived Shuja’iyya and we will survive this too.

In the north, Hezbollah is preparing to shower missiles across the State of Israel. And we, who have our hopes pinned on the Iron Dome, are going to curse it later. What, didn’t we have money for 50 more batteries? What, can’t an “iron dome” blow up 150 missiles at once?

We are living in one long war, which is just changing names. We should have taken advantage of the current pause to study the situation and the next war arenas and to invest the money in the sensible and right preparations. The latest state comptroller report on the home front’s preparations for war will not make us compose jolly melodies to lyrics.




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