The city of Netivot has proposed a system of separate bomb shelters for the
city’s African migrant population.
The idea was put forward during a
meeting with the new Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter in the Negev city
Netivot municipal spokesman Benny Cohen said the proposal was
made to solve two issues: the fact that the 300 to 400 African migrants do not
have access to bomb shelters in their residences, and because there would be
“integration problems” with veteran Israelis seeking shelter. The move would see
part of a building run by the Mekorot national water company modified to serve
as a bomb shelter.
“Some of these people live in houses with 20 or 30
people near the old industrial zones in places where the don’t have access to
shelters. So since they don’t have their own shelters they would have to
go out and look for shelter throughout the neighborhoods,” said.
said that he and Mayor Yehiel Zohar told Dichter that there would be a problem
of integration, because of “mental and cultural differences between them and the
Israelis. There are many problems; people may worry that they [Africans] would
bother them, or God forbid rape one of their daughters.”
He added that in
Netivot, African migrants were often found sleeping in the portable bomb
shelters set up to provide protection from Gazan rockets, a matter that sparks
the ire of some veteran residents.
Cohen said Dichter welcomed the
proposal during the meeting.
A spokesman for Dichter said the proposal
was made in passing and that the minister “sees any solution that will give more
protection to the home front as a positive thing.”