JERUSALEM (JTA) — In the wake of the Carmel Forest fire, Israel’s government approved more than $223 million for homefront emergency preparedness and disasters.
Nearly $100,000 will be allocated to establishing an upgraded national fire service and an aerial firefighting force, according to the bill approved Sunday. The vote was 20 to 3 with one abstention.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai opposed the bill, demanding a doubling of the budget for fire services.
The bill also transferred responsibility for Israel’s fire services from the Interior Ministry and local authorities to the Public Security Ministry.
The Carmel fire broke out Dec. 2 and took four days to get under control. Forty-four people were killed in the blaze, which burned 12,000 acres of land, consumed 5 million trees, and destroyed or severely damaged 250 homes.