Qassam in Sderot
Photo: Reuters
IDF presents: Anti-Qassam tables
That's not a joke. IDF says concrete-fortified tables would be introduced to Ashkelon schools for children to hide under during Qassam attack

All has been said about fortifying schools against Qassams but the IDF's Home Front Command's new idea will surprise many: Concrete tables will be set up in classrooms across Ashkelon.


Ashkelon Municipality sources described the idea as "very strange," and said that they would ask for a clarification.


The Home Front Command explained that according to Defense Minister Amir Peretz's orders the fortification of Ashkelon would be postponed.

But schools in the city, unlike schools in Sderot and communities near Gaza where students enter fortified rooms during Qassam attacks, in Ashkelon it seems orders are different.


It seems that protecting Ashkelon schools is more complicated because of the higher number of schools. Should the Ministry of Defense rule that all schools in Ashkelon need to be protected, the endeavor would take years.


Today, Ashkelon schools have shelters, but in the south of the city, where many Qassams have fallen the situation is tricky.


Shelters in schools in the south of the city are old and not large enough to shelter all students.


The situation is not better in new schools. More so officials are concerns that children don't have enough time to reach the shelters in the short moments that separate the alert siren of the Red Dawn early alert system and the rocket's landing.


"During exercises it was explained to us to hide under the table. That's really a joke to hide under the table. I believe we simply need to pray and hope for a miracle and that it will be good, because as things stand there is nothing to do at school," an Ashkelon headmaster says.


"The issue is raised all the time. Maybe the municipality is not aware of that but when Qassams are fired at Sderot and the area worried parents ask about the fortifications here and we need to say the sad truth that there is no fortification here," she added.


In Ashkelon officials say that a meeting was held with the Home Front Command chief at the beginning of the month.


City official add that schools have been linked to an emergency room that allows them to contact the security officials in the city when Qassams are fired.


And what about fortifications for the rest of the city? "The Municipality held a study about shelters in educational institutions and public places under its responsibility, and soon we will hold another study about shelters in public houses and shared houses," officials said.


"There is an action plan by the Home Front Command before training and explaining to the residents should it be decided to launch a PR campaign among residents ahead of the activation of the Red Color system," they added.


פרסום ראשון: 10.26.06, 03:37
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