State Comptroller to Launch Special Probe Into Carmel Fire

Micha Lindenstrauss heeds Netanyahu's request and agrees to prepare a special report on the events surrounding the Carmel fire to be ready within four months.

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss heeded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request on Tuesday and agreed to launch an investigation into the events of the Carmel fire.

Lindenstrauss attended on Tuesday a discussion on the Carmel fire held by a ministerial committee headed by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman which is intended to inspect government activities.

Micha Lindenstrauss - Olivier Fitoussi
Olivier Fitoussi

At its conclusion, it was decided that the comptroller will launch a special investigation into the events surrounding the Carmel fire, in addition to the report he issued last week on the state of Israel's firefighting services.

Lindenstrauss estimated that he will issue the report within four months.

Earlier Tuesday, the Knesset Control Committee struggled to muster votes for a state commission to investigate the Carmel fire.

Committee chairman MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima ), who is spearheading the move to set up an inquiry panel, opened the debate on the state comptroller's report regarding the failings of the fire services by urging lawmakers to act "in the best interest of the citizens" instead of focusing on political considerations.

"To be a minister means to take responsibility," Hasson declared, adding this was "our moment of truth as Knesset members" to regain the trust of the public.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the meeting for the controversy over establishing the panel, saying he supported the move but the premier favored a comptroller inquiry alone.

Yishai last week called for a state commission in the hope it would clear him of exclusively responsibility for the failures of the fire services, of which his ministry is in charge.