Despite cabinet's decision
to approve the allotment of NIS 695 million (about $174 million) for the fortification of Gaza vicinity communities, some 150 residents of Ashkelon protested Sunday against the continued rocket attacks emanating from north Gaza.
Demonstrators waved signs reading "We don’t want to die" and "children of the south are abandoned". The city's Parents' Association called for a boycott of the upcoming general elections (February 10) in protest of what it called the government's disregard for the region's plight.
"We want to tell the government: Enough with this ongoing catastrophe; enough with the anxieties and our children's nightmares," the association said in a statement.
One of the demonstrators, Yoram Ganish, said Ashkelon's schools have yet to be fortified despite the government's claims. "We don’t want to wait until children are killed here," he said, "the State must act immediately."
Fourteen-year-old Daniel Aharoni, a student at a local art school, said "I am afraid that a Katyusha will land on our school's grounds; I don’t even want to think what could happen. The school must be fortified."
Responding to the cabinet's decision from earlier in the day, Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Yalin said, "Now we can launch our next battle –expediting the fortification process.
"Fortification is merely a tool, not an objective. The goal is that the government will bring peace to Israel's southern communities; no one wants to live under concrete," he said.
Ilana Curiel contributed to the report