Eli Yishai - Emil Salman - February 2012
Eli Yishai. Photo by Emil Salman
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The state comptroller's draft report last fall on the Carmel fire has sparked a round of finger-pointing between Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.

Yishai claims that he and his ministry were not responsible for the disaster. He says other ministries, notably Steinitz's treasury, held up reforms of the fire and rescue service.

In a letter to State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss last fall, Yishai wrote that his ministry had done everything it could to address problems at the firefighting services. He said the Finance Ministry's policies had prevented progress on the issue.

Yishai said fighting fires was the responsibility of the Public Security Ministry and the police, and that forest fire prevention was the work of the Environmental Protection Ministry and the Agriculture Ministry.

In October, Steinitz shot back, claiming that responsibility for reforming the fire service lay with the Interior Ministry. Yishai could have redirected funds to the fire service without waiting for hundreds of millions of shekels in funding for a reform, Steinitz wrote.

He also claimed that Yishai's request for NIS 665 million for additional firefighting funds was unprofessional, lacking the necessary support.