Carmel fire report blames top officials

A draft report on last year’s Carmel forest fire criticizes top Israeli government officials for failures that led to 44 deaths and massive damage.

Israeli State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss submitted a draft report to government officials, who have one month to respond to the findings.

Top government officials held culpable for the disaster include Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, according to reports.

The report includes a critical chapter on the Interior Ministry and the fire services, charging that the interior minister did not do enough to repair the problems outlined in past reports and did not work to implement fire services reform despite government decisions, according to the Israeli daily Ha’aretz.

In the four-day Carmel forest fire last December, 250 homes were destroyed or severely damaged, 17,000 people were forced to evacuate, more than 12,000 acres were burned and an estimated 5 million trees were lost. — jta