Prompted by the latest round of rocket fire from
the Gaza Strip, the government has agreed to transfer NIS 30 million ($7.6 million) to southern towns, part of a budget allocated towards the fortification of kindergartens and schools, Ynet has learned.
Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter approved on Tuesday a request by GOC Home Front Command Maj. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg to immediately transfer the funds to southern communities located within seven to 15 kilometers of the Gaza Strip. These municipalities include the Eshkol, Mishmar Hanegev, Hof Ashkelon and Shaar Henegev regional councils, as well as Netivot and Ashkelon.
The sum is part of a NIS 110 million ($27.9 million) budget set aside for the construction of sheltered school facilities in the south. The bulk of the sum – some NIS 80 million ($20.3 million) – has already been transferred.
Netivot home damaged by rocket (Photo: Getty Images)
Over 90 schools and 61 kindergartens are located in the region that most often becomes the target of rocket fire, but only 15 institutions have been properly fortified so far.
Sources in the defense establishment stressed that educational institutions in Netivot, which was hit by two rockets over the past few days, are the least protected. Students in the city are forced to hide inside makeshift concrete barricades when air raid sirens sound.
Meanwhile, government ministries continue to negotiate a budget of NIS 270 million ($68.5 million) meant to fortify 1,700 homes located within four and a half to seven kilometers from Gaza.
Two weeks ago Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
said that the state will fund the fortification of these homes, but the government has yet to approve the budget, delayed by disagreements within the ministries. Once it is approved, the project is expected to take at least two years to be completed.