Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened on Monday morning a meeting of the director-generals of all ministries relevant to the rehabilitation effort following the Carmel fire. Netanyahu instructed Finance Ministry Dir.-Gen. Haim Shani to immediately allocate 2,500 shekels to each individual whose home was burned and who will not be able to return it by the end of this month. Netanyahu specifically asked that the Carmel evacuees not have to face the bureaucratic delays that were faced by families evicted from Gush Katif in Gaza in 2005.
“Three central missions stand before us,” said Netanyahu. “To bring home the people who were evacuated and to care for those who were harmed; to rebuild those homes which were destroyed and restore infrastructure; and to assure the rehabilitation of Mt. Carmel. Two of these missions are immediate. And when I say immediate, I do not mean months or years, as was the case with the Gaza settlements. We want a different type of treatment here – very quick and very efficient. In order to do this we must think ‘outside the box’. That means that most of the bureaucratic definitions must be re-examined, and if necessary, put aside.”
“We are defining this event as a ‘mega-fire’, because it deviates from the norm. Therefore the treatment of the event itself, the evacuees, the burned homes, is nothing like the normal treatment of any fire that occurs in Israel. This was a huge fire; different in nature, and therefore our perception of it must be different.”
“That is precisely my request to you,” Netanyahu told the bureaucrats. “Not to adhere to the accepted regulations, which take much time, many weeks, many months. I ask, in this case, to shorten and alter procedures by defining this incident as extraordinary and unique… in regard to urgent tasks, such as returning people to their homes, finding temporary housing and restoring the homes that were destroyed.”
“I ask the professional personnel to go to the scene already tomorrow. It is possible that I will join you. Let us solve problems as we move. Let us not wait and wait, but rather solve urgent problems while in motion. Thus we have solved the crisis of the fire itself. And now we must solve the crisis following the fire, while on the move, quickly and with minimum bureaucracy.”