The ministerial committee headed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert earmarked Sunday NIS 350 million (roughly $90 million) for the purpose of fortifying one third of the homes located up to seven kilometers (about 4.5 miles) away from the Gaza Strip border.
The plan, expected to be approved by the government next Sunday, means that only 3,600 out of the total of 10,750 homes in the range defined as "dangerous" during Ariel Sharon's tenure will be fortified. The decision was taken despite the fact that at the opening of Sunday's session officials were talking about fortifying a total of 8,000 homes.
During Sunday's meeting, PM Olmert said: "I was in Sderot and in Gaza-region communities and it was very difficult to listen to the residents, who have been facing an offensive for many years. The solution is not comprehensive and is not full, but it is appropriate and reasonable under the current circumstances, and the 'Iron Dome' system will complete the fortification."
Decaying homes to be fortified firstAs published by Ynet about a week ago, the "Iron Dome" rocket interception system cannot shoot down incoming rockets at a range of below four kilometers (roughly 2.5 miles.) For that reason, the defense establishment and Prime Minister's Office admitted that a different response to Qassam fire would have to be provided in ranges below four kilometers, in the form of secured rooms.
The plan is to build cement-reinforced fortified rooms that would be constructed right alongside existing homes and apartments. In the first stage, decaying homes that pose greater risk of injury in case of a rocket attack would be fortified.