"We will provide the residents of Sderot and the Gaza vicinity an appropriate answer through a multilevel system against the Qassam," Olmert said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, during which the ministers approved a budget of NIS 327 million (about $91.61 million) for the fortification package, as okayed by a ministerial committee last week.
However, not all the buildings will be fortified. "The plan is not aimed at fortifying every single housing unit and building, and there is no room for extremism," the prime minister clarified.
As part of the current plan, only 3,600 out of the 8,000 houses in the range of the Palestinian rockets will be fortified. These houses are lightly fortified and their walls and ceilings do not provide protection against the Qassam rockets.
A decision on whether or not to fortify the other 4,400 houses will only made in about two years.
Sderot school fortified (Photo: Ze'ev Trachtman)
Olmert praised the masses of Israelis who flocked to Sderot on Friday for their Shabbat shopping. "This is not an alternative for other things, but solidarity is a good thing," he said.
The gloomy situation in Sderot was not the only issue on Olmert's agenda. He did not forget to wish the creators of the Israeli film "Beaufort" good luck in the Academy Awards ceremony which will be held in Los Angeles on Sunday night.
"I wish the actors of 'Beaufort' success and hope they return with the award. The film industry, which had made progress in recent years, deserves it," he said.