Panel: State Failed to Include Funds for Earthquake Safety in 2009 Budget

Last month, government approved plan to set aside NIS 3.5 billion over 25 years to reinforce public buildings.

The state has not allocated any funding to prepare state services in the event of an earthquake for the 2009 budget, despite a number of government resolutions on the matter.

According to members of a blue-ribbon panel assigned to monitor the state's preparation for a future earthquake, the government decided to set aside NIS 3.5 billion, which would be spread out over a period of 25 years beginning in 2009. Last month, the socio-economic cabinet unanimously voted to include the first installment in next year's budget totaling NIS 140 million, which would subsidize the reinforcement of buildings owned by the state and local authorities.

The cabinet also moved to take half the sum - NIS 70 million - from the budgets of the public security, health, education, and welfare ministries. After some of the ministries balked at the prospect, the matter was frozen.