Home Front Minister Gilad Erdan on Tuesday informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he wished to resign by May 31, and urged the premier to close the ministry for good.
In a five-page letter, Erdan wrote that the ministry had served its purposes and that its units should be transferred to the defense ministry. The lack of fund and the defense ministry's resistance to an authority-sharing arrangement made the existence of the home front ministry superfluous, Erdan explained.
Erdan's announcement came just hours after ministry director general, Gen. (res.) Dan Ronen, submitted his own resignation. Ronen is also the ministry’s second director general to resign in less than a year.
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Ronen gave two reasons for his decision to resign: irregularities in the division of powers between the Defense Ministry and the Home Front Defense Ministry, and “inappropriate behavior by the Defense Ministry toward the Home Front Defense Ministry and toward ministry employees (all of whom are employees of the Defense Ministry), as well as non-fulfillment of government decisions to provide the Home Front Defense Ministry with a logistical infrastructure.”
Ronen is expected to leave the post next week — the end of April. He asked Erdan to accept his resignation at the end of February, citing the lack of a decision on the ministry’s powers. In his letter, Ronen also criticized the army — against the backdrop of the dispute between the Defense Ministry and the Home Front Defense Ministry over responsibility for dealing with the civilian home front.
“It should be noted that there is a significant dispute between the two approaches. The first approach, which has been prevalent for many years and failed during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, is that the army is the only one with the capabilities,” Ronen wrote.
“The second approach, that of the Home Front Defense Ministry, is that the civilian home front should and must be ready to assist and cope with any incident on the home front (and if the army is available to help, that can be a bonus). This is customary in all countries of the Western world, the enlightened democracies.”
Ronen is the second director general of the Home Front Defense Ministry to resign after Gabi Ofir in June 2013. In the past, Ronen referred to the ministry as “superfluous” in an essay for the Ynet website, saying it had been established “evidently out of political considerations rather than out of pure intent to care for and protect the citizens.”
Before his appointment as director general, Ronen said his stance was based on the state of the Home Front Command at that time, “but when Minister Erdan took office, it seemed a significant change had taken place in the ministry’s perception and functioning .... The current situation is different; the ministry now has tools to do important things in home front defense.”