With the new school year approaching, Sunday's cabinet meeting revolved mainly around the fortification efforts made in Sderot and the Gaza vicinity communities' schools.
Education Minister Yuli Tamir told ministers about the troubled area's preparations for the school year, and asked the defense forces "to vouch for the safety of Sderot's school children."
Deputy Defense Minister MK Matan Vilna'i (Labor-Meimad), filling in for Defense Minister Ehud Barak, responded by saying "I'll vouch for that if the education minister vouches for no violence in schools and if the transportation minister guarantees no more car accidents."
Sources close to Yuli Tamir said her request was made on behalf of Sderot's parents, who asked the Home Front Command to certify the city's classrooms. Sources in Vilnai's office, meanwhile, said he had made it clear that the IDF is doing everything possible to keep the children safe.
The fortification of Sderot and the Gaza vicinity schools had been the focus of a well-publicized disagreement between the High Court and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert –the former criticizing the prime minister for not doing enough and the latter insisting he has the final say.
"I still believe – and even according to the Home Front Command – we have sufficient fortification… but if the High Court rules (we must fortify all the classrooms) we will do it in the best possible way," said Olmert.
"We are building 16 new schools in the (Gaza vicinity) area. They will be completely fortified and up to the highest code… it's time stop the sanctimonious ranting about nothing being done. What we're planning there is revolutionary," he added.
As for Sderot's existing schools, a source in the Prime Minister's Office told Ynet that three schools will be completely fortified by the beginning of the school year, and eight of the 24 schools left will be finished by the time the High Court's extension on the matter expires.
The fortification of all other schools is ongoing, and they will continue to use their secure rooms until the process is completed, added the source.