Rocket threat: Sderot factories at risk of closing down
Regional factories may shut down, their employees fired within few weeks, if no solution is found for their fortification
Head of the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council Alon Shuster may order to close down the Of Kor and Tapugan factories, located in the local industrial area, due to a Home Front Command instruction to fortify the plants at a cost of millions of shekels.
The factories, where hazardous materials are stored, announced they will not be able to withstand the financial cost of the fortification. Fearing for the workers' safety, Shuster has therefore proclaimed he plans to stop production at the factories.
About a month ago, a rocket was fired at the Of Kor factory and killed one of the workers, Yaakov Yaakobov. Following the attack, the suspicion arose that one of the ammonia containers on the site was damaged, and teams of the Hazardous Materials Unit at the Ministry of the Environment were dispatched to the scene.
In wake of this incident, the Ministry has demanded that all structures at the plants be fortified. However, in light of the dire economic situation in the region, due in large part to the almost daily Qassam attacks, both factories said they were unable to pay for such works.
In a letter to its employees, Of Kor's management slammed the State's refusal to fund the cost of the fortification.
Shuster himself sent a letter to Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson requesting that the State budget the project, "Which will work to safeguard the residents and employees' safety and health, and will allow many of Sderot residents, who have been subjected to a very difficult mental distress, to keep their jobs."