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Cabinet approves south's fortification plan
Escalation in south prompts government to move up vote on PM Netanyahu's defense plan despite absence of State budget. Plan passes with unanimous vote

The government approved the southern communities' fortification plan on Sunday despite the fact that the 2013 State budget has yet to be approved. The vote on the plan was unanimous.

 

The plan, promoted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will see to the defense of 1,700 homes and institutions located 4.5-7 kilometers from Gaza Strip. It is estimated at NIS 270 million ($69.7 million).

 

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Israel's southern communities suffered heavy rocket fire last week, as over 75 projectiles were fired at the area on Wednesday alone.

 

Sans a budget, however, the government's approval will be in principle only.

The funding for the fortification plan is meant to be provided by the Defense, Finance and Housing ministries, as well as by the Jewish Agency.

 

Some NIS 77 million (roughly $19.8 million) will not come from the Defense Ministry, and will be appropriated across three years.

The Defense Ministry said that a draft proposal of the plan was presented on Thursday and that "Over the next few days discussions will be held as to its funding options.

 

"The Defense Ministry supports the plan and was a part of its formulation. We will continue to promote its rapid implementation."

 

Defense establishment sources added that Sunday's vote aims to push for the plan's implementation as soon as possible.

 

The plan was originally presented to the government 18 months ago, with Defense Ministry recommendations as to the communities that need to be fortified against terrorist rocket fire dated back as far as 2010.

 

Many of the area's residents criticized Netanyahu's decision to push the fortification plan at this time – some three months before the elections, calling it a "campaign ploy."

 

Moran Azulay contributed to this report

 

 

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פרסום ראשון: 10.28.12, 11:06
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