The government was criticized severely last week for not fortifying the buildings in Sderot. This criticism has only increased since billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak announced that he would provide the city with the fortification it needed.
Sunday morning, government ministers backed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert after
he announced that he would remove the red tape so that the fortification plan could be implemented.
They said that the government could be relied on and there was no need to depend on private people's initiatives.
"Gaydamak's proposals are ridiculous," said Minister Meir Sheetrit. "Can he really fortify Sderot? Such a project would cost – and I say this as housing and construction minister – somewhere between NIS 800 million to NIS 1 billion. What he says cannot be taken seriously.
"There is a state of panic, hysteria," Sheetrit added. "I understand these people, but Sderot has bomb shelters. Is the government supposed to prepare the shelters? Each house should be responsible for their own one. You cannot lay all the responsibility on the government. Fortification of the houses in Sderot is a long process and it will not happen in a day. Gaydamak can definitely not solve the problem."
Tourism Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch admitted that the Israeli government should have dealt with Sderot and the Gaza vicinity communities a long time ago: "Unfortunately, when there is such a void, Arcadi steps in. For whatever reasons, the government had not made the decision. It should have, a long time ago, but I hope that now, after it has, the residents will be safe."
Minister Jacob Edery also expressed confidence in the government. He said that he supported private initiatives, but in such cases, it was the government who should take the responsibility.
Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog said that people should not take advantage of the situation to weaken the government.
"You cannot expect the government to do everything at unreasonable speed. I suggest we stay away from spins and unjustified headlines, like the ones in the media since yesterday," he said.