Rocket damage to Sderot factory.
(photo credit: Reuters/Amir Cohen)
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich released a five-point socioeconomic
rehabilitation plan for residents of the South on Sunday following Operation
Pillar of Defense.
Yacimovich’s plan emphasizes compensation for
businesses and employees who lost income due to the security situation in the
South, strengthening local government, rehabilitating social services,
bomb-proofing infrastructure and economic relief.
“Before the public
discourse goes back to politics, and the residents of the South are forced to
gather the pieces of the last operation on their own, the government must take
clear steps to aid and rehabilitate the South,” she said.
leader added that over the past decade, residents of the South have gotten used
to school closures, inactive businesses and an abnormal routine. The government
must prove its commitment to socioeconomic security, Yacimovich
“Israeli society’s strength comes from inside, and the residents
of the South who show such strength time and again deserve to know that the
government will not return to its [usual] agenda before taking care of their
basic needs,” she said.
The first part of Yacimovich’s plan entails
compensation for businesses and employees who lost income and days of work. She
demanded the government immediately publish a model of compensation that
includes salaries, income and expenses. In addition, southern businesses would
pay discounted property tax and small and medium businesses would receive extra
aid from the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry.
The Labor leader called
for local government to be strengthened through a promise not to reduce Interior
Ministry grants and special aid to the periphery. In addition, according to her
plan, the national government would pay for emergency
Yacimovich’s third suggestion, rehabilitating social services,
includes an increase in the budget for social workers and psychological
services. In addition, she called for the government to simplify the
bureaucratic process in welfare services, stop privatizing them and increase
public transportation to the periphery.
Next, the Labor leader said the
government must protect infrastructure by bomb-proofing hospitals and schools
within 40 km. of the Gaza border, renovate bomb shelters and establish a
national fund to subsidize protection solutions in other structures.
final point in Yacimovich’s plan is economic aid in the form of postponing local
and national tax payments and payments to banks without charging interest, as
well as quickly paying compensation for property damage due to the security
Yacimovich did not cite in her proposal, which was presented in
both text and a slideshow, the exact cost of her plan or which funds the
government would use to pay for it.