‘Kids in South learning state can't defend itself'

Knesset Education Committee slams Defense Ministry for insufficiently reinforcing rocket-stricken school buildings.

March 13, 2012 19:07
1 minute read.
Children take shelter from rockets in sewage pipe

Children take shelter from rockets in a sewage pipe 390 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)


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Knesset Education Committee chairman Alex Miller (Israel Beiteinu) slammed the Defense Ministry at a Tuesday meeting for not properly reinforcing school buildings in rocket-stricken areas.

“You’re sending a message to children that our country cannot defend itself,” Miller said, adding that the IDF must deter terrorists from interrupting the lives of citizens in the South.

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The committee chairman also called for school buildings to be reinforced within 40 km. of the Gaza Strip, but pointed out that the range of missiles has grown each year.

Defense Ministry Col. Benny Shick said that schools between 7 km. and 40 km. from Gaza have been closed since Sunday, and that almost all preschools in that area are protected. However, some preschools were built without authorization from the Home Front Command and such construction must be discouraged, he said.

Asaf Datner, construction and budgeting manager for the Education Ministry, said he requested an additional NIS 15 million from the Finance Ministry to add safe rooms to 75 more structures and has yet to receive an answer.

“Maybe it would be cheaper for the IDF to go into Gaza and wipe out Hamas, than to reinforce school buildings,” Miller quipped.

National Union chairman Ya’acov Katz also said that a military operation would be a better option, claiming that using the Iron Dome missile defense system and reinforcing school buildings would be more expensive.

As for the emotional effect on children in the South, Education Ministry representative Yehudit Bloom said that teachers in the area have been instructed to telephone their students and consult with local psychiatric services if they see fit.

In addition, teachers have been instructed to find solutions for remotely teaching their students. Miller suggested broadcasting lessons on Educational Television.

However, parents from Beersheba said that the remote teaching website in their city crashed, and that the only way for teachers to give lessons was by opening personal blogs.

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