Knocked for Six at the Treasury

The army claims that it wasn't really surprised by the events unfolding in Lebanon. They may simply not want to admit being taken aback. But there is no doubt that the clerks at the treasury in Jerusalem really were surprised.

They had no contingency plans in place for such eventualities, we can say that, as the lack of preparedness shrieks from each residential building blasted by missiles, and from each company up north that has been paralyzed either from direct rocket strikes or its workforce decamping.

How could the treasury fail to be prepared for the decidedly foreseeable eventuality, of an attack causing damage to property, and disrupting life within the Katyusha footprint?

The army may have been startled on the tactical front, but it had warned of missile attacks on Israeli towns in the event of widespread fighting in the north. In fact, everybody living in the Galilee knew it could happen.

Indeed, the government had had experience in missile attacks on the home front. Back in the first Gulf War, missiles spattered Israel's cities and towns, and the results were the same: compensation for property damage and loss of working days because of the threat and the actuality of the attacks.

If the economic offices of Jerusalem had been prepared, workers and employers would have been spared a great deal of bother, and spared at least some of the injury. True, the Property Tax office assessing the damage cannot keep the vast team it needs to visit and inspect the sites at all times; but it should have had a mechanism in place to call up inspection teams when needed.

The problem over at Property Tax, it now appears, is not just one of manpower: it has problems with straightforward issues too. How could the clerks in Jerusalem have suggested that the people carry out their own repairs and present the bill later?

Perhaps the people responsible for managing the home front simply didn't grasp the new reality. During Israel's first 43 years, the home front was safe, pretty much. The first missile attacks against civilians were in the first Gulf War, but today the Iraqi threat is considered by and large gone.

When this war began, the prime minister vowed to end the missile threat hovering over the north. Now nobody is promising anything of the sort. The treasury had better start considering that in the future too, the home front will be exposed to missile damage, and it would do wisely to have some plans in place.