Northern bomb shelters in sorry state, says state comptroller

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman, right, and Ma’alot-Tarshiha Mayor Arkady Pomeranets touring a bomb shelter in the city, October 17, 2023. (Courtesy State Comptroller’s Office)
State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman, right, and Ma’alot-Tarshiha Mayor Arkady Pomeranets touring a bomb shelter in the city, October 17, 2023. (Courtesy State Comptroller’s Office)

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman says that there are serious deficiencies in the preparedness of northern towns and communities in the event of a war with Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group.

A lack of adequate bomb shelters and severe strains on volunteer civilian security teams were the comptroller’s two main criticisms.

Englman makes his comments after conducting a tour of border communities in northern Israel close to the Lebanese border on Tuesday, including the city of Ma’alot-Tarshiha, just seven kilometers from Lebanon.

He says some bomb shelters are extremely poorly maintained and says there is a lack of adequate bomb shelters in old residential buildings in the area.

“There is no light, the toilets are in a very bad state, and there is a flood [on the floor],” says Englman of one shelter he visited.

“These conditions do not provide for the required protection at this time for residents of the confrontation line and the northern border,” he adds, noting that many of the residents in the region are elderly and poor.

Englman also points out that the armed volunteer civilian security teams that provide emergency security protection for small communities cannot currently do their day jobs, as they are too busy with repeated attacks by Hezbollah and Palestinian terror factions from Lebanon against Israel over the last two weeks.

The State Comptroller’s Office is now trying to have these volunteers formally drafted into the IDF reserves in order to allow them to keep serving in the security teams and receive a salary from the army.

Local mayors also claimed that government ministries have not been in touch with them sufficiently, Englman says.

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