Israel's Ministry of Transport criticized for wartime transport policy

Published 2 May 2007

Government’s failure to declare a state of emergency during Lebanon war resulted in widespread operational failures at the ports

It is one thing for a government to be unprepared for a natural disaster; it is another thing entirely for a government to be unprepared for an emergency of its own making. So says a scathing report delivered this week to Israel’s Ministry of Transport, which found that the failure not to declare a state of emergency — instead declaring a “special situation on the home front” — during the recent war in Lebanon resulted in operational failures at the ports and in the transport network. Among the failures cited are: the lack of an emergency contingency plan for the operation of all transport systems; the lack of arrangements that would enable foreign ships to dock in Israel without a dramatic increase in insurance costs; a shortage of port terminals for hazardous materials; and, somewhat crpytically, “severe problems with Ashdod Port employees.” The report suggested the government establish an emergency ports and transport authority empowered to take control of the transport sector in special situations where no emergency has been declared yet there is no general war.