A Home Front Command drill in 2004
A Home Front Command drill in 2004, in which emergency services practice rescuing people trapped under collapsed buildings. Photo by Eyal Warshavsky
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State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss found "many shortcomings" in the Home Front Command's control and monitoring systems, despite the unit's efforts to improve the situation, according to his report published Tuesday.

The shortcomings pointed out by the State Comptroller were mainly found in the Home Front Command's interface with other emergency and rescue services. Failures in the system affect the Home Front Command's ability to know what is happening on the ground in real time, the report said, as well as impeding collaboration with other emergency services.

As per the decision of the State Control Committee, most of the report will remain confidential owing to security concerns, and only the conclusion has been made public.

The State Comptroller stressed the importance of the issue in light of the threat that any future war presents to Israel's security. The report recommended that the national emergency services work toward improving communications among the control systems of the different rescue and emergency services within the Home Protection Department.

The State Comptroller also criticized the Israeli Defense Forces for its unclear policy on historical research and documentation. The IDF, Israeli Air Force, Navy, Intelligence and the Defense Ministry all have departments dedicated to historical research activities. The report highlighted a lack of clear guidelines and policies on what makes a relevant research topic, and what the aim of research activities is. The State Comptroller recommended that the IDF chief of staff and the Defense Minister draft an overall policy framework for the all the historical research activities of the security services to ensure they are on the same page.

In response, the IDF spokesman said that the Home Front Command is investigating the shortcomings in its communications with other emergency and rescue services, and working toward having an "integrated and coordinated snapshot in real time" of any situation on the ground. The spokesman added that the historical investigation department has been working on improving its working relations with the Defense Ministry's historical department, in order to "coordinate their research areas and to identify areas of common interest."

The Defense Ministry also responded, saying it attaches great importance to "research and the preservation of historical knowledge for future generations." It added that it had worked on consolidating its work in this area over the past year, and had just increased its budget for historical work.