DM Barak Seeking Millions for Southern Area Defense Needs

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Defense Minister Ehud Barak is seeking additional funds for the areas of southern Israel that will not be included in the “Iron Dome” rocket defense system.

The minister and his staff are preparing a bill that calls for the allocation of an additional NIS 500 million to fortify communities located within a 4.5km (2.8 mile) radius from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

According to Barak, the communities located closest to Gaza will not be protected by the rocket defense system, which by the way is still being developed.

Barak stated the government has a moral responsibility to the southern residents and safe rooms must be constructed and other steps taken to provide adequate protection for residents, adding that Finance Ministry objections to the funds are not justifiable. He added that now, during the ceasefire period, Israel must take advantage of the quiet to begin work on the fortification project.

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai stated that the NIS 327 million that was allocated is insufficient and the additional funds are critical towards protecting area residents.

In the meantime, Channel 1 TV News reported on Monday night that in September, most of Sderot’s schools will not be protected against Kassam rocket attacks as the government promised they would. The powers that be blame one another, with accusations of foot-dragging and incompetence making their way from Sderot City Hall to the Housing and Defense Ministries and so-forth. The bottom line, many children will have to travel distances to safer schools or be in the direct line of fire due to the government’s inability to find a solution following some 8 years of rocket attacks.

Most alarming according to some is the fact that the defense minister is now seeking another NIS 500 million to protect residents, signaling the attacks are expected to continue, explaining that it would be significantly less expensive to bring the rocket attacks to a halt rather than finding a way to survive them.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)