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Aharonovitch at Carmel Disaster Memorial

Published on: December 4, 2012

Today, Minister of Internal Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch spoke at the Memorial Ceremony for Victims of the 2010 Carmel Disaster.

Below is a translation of his remarks:

Two years have passed since a large fire broke out and destroyed everything in its path. Apart from the loss of property and to the natural world, the loss of human life is by far the most tragic and hardest to come to terms with.  Forty four families still grieve the loss of a loved one – someone who gave his or her life in the line of duty – whether as a firefighter, police officer or prison officer.

Two years have passed but the pain and longing, the memories of those who are gone have left us stunned.  A year ago, in this spot,  we unveiled a monument in their memory. But, of course no work of art could capture the depth of the loss and the greatness of those we miss so dearly.

I have visited with the bereaved families, I feel how much pain you are in.  The Carmel Disaster took some of Israel’s finest sons and daughters. But together, we can carry on the spirit of those who fought the flames so valiantly.

The State of Israel wants to accompany each family through the hard times.  We want to gie every bit of support that we can.  And that it why I say that the 44 brave souls who lost their life in the Carmel Disaster should be officially recognized as  fallen soldiers.

We are also committed to continuing to implement the lessons learned from the Disaster.  We have upgraded our firefighting forces and made other important reforms.  There’s still a way to go.  But, we will not be content with a partial job here.  We know that lives depend on making the necessary reforms.

Since the firefighting forces became a department of the Ministry of Internal Security, we have acquired more equipment, opened more stations and bought more fire trucks.  We have established a wider network of volunteer fire fighters to assist in routine tasks as well as in emergencies. We are still working toward the goal of establishing a large, well organized and effective firefighting force.

Only a few days ago, we concluded “Operation Pillar of Defense.” Police, fire fighters and rescue workers worked well together to keep people in the line of fire safe.  Everyone showed a high degree of professionalism and dedication.  It is clear to me as Minister of Internal Security that the teams remember the Carmel Disaster and use the memory of fallen to spur them on to work even harder, even better.

For you, the bereaved families of the Carmel Disaster, I know that the pain will always be there.  I hope that you find some small comfort in knowing that the State is doing all it can to avoid another such tragedy and that we are implementing the lessons learned.

This is the month of Channuka, when we remember  the heroes of the Jewish people, those who were willing to lay down their lives for the sake of maintaining our Jewish way of life.  There is nothing more Jewish than helping another person.  The 44 victims of the Carmel Disaster are Jewish heroes.  May their memory be a blessing to their families and all of us.

 Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch

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