Some Israelis take cover as others look on as sirens indicating rockets being fired to the area are heard on a lookout hill near Sderot, opposite the northern Gaza Strip..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The exceptions committee in the Prime Minister’s Office met in emergency session on Sunday evening to approve NIS 3 million to pay for psychological treatment of children living near Gaza.
Less than 10 months since Operation Protective Edge, the NIS 4.6m.
the ministry originally budgeted for psychological treatment of children in the Gaza periphery had been used up.
Notices went out Sunday morning to managers of the educational psychological services, to let them know of the imminent end to the funding.
The Education Ministry, which budgeted a total of NIS 23m. for student and staff programs to deal with the aftermath of last summer’s war, including the NIS 4.6m. for psychological treatment, said on Sunday it has been working to get an additional NIS 5m. set aside by the National Emergency Authority, which coordinates between the various governmental bodies in times of emergency.
As of Sunday morning, they were unable to secure that additional funding.
Yesh Atid MK Haim Jelin, former chairman of the Eshkol Regional Council whose jurisdiction adjoins the southern and central Gaza Strip, sent a letter to Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon on Sunday, calling on them to repeal their “irresponsible decision” not to budget additional funds.
Jelin announced on Sunday evening that following the letter, the exceptions committee had convened to approve NIS 3m. for the educational psychological services through the National Emergency Authority.
In his letter, Jelin wrote that not even a year has passed since the operation in Gaza, and “red alerts became part of our lives in the Gaza periphery, part of raising our children. Red alerts that stop our breath and accelerate our pulse.
“We, who educate our children to protect the borders of the State of Israel, the nation and the citizens...
must know how to protect our children in return and not just with the sword, but with education, emotional treatment, and strengthening resilience,” Jelin wrote.
He continued, “Anyone who thinks that we can forget the emotional wounds of the Protective Edge war and of the escalations of the past 15 years that the residents of the [Gaza] periphery have suffered, does not understand the human soul.”
Avi Kaminsky, chairman of the Israel Union of Education Directors in Local Municipalities, and director of education in the Ashkelon Municipality, said on Sunday morning that the “budget cuts to the psychological services in the Gaza periphery show that there is insensitivity in the government toward the difficulties of the education systems in these municipalities, including the difficulties of the students.
“These days we are witnessing a trickle of Kassam rockets on one hand and a trickle in government budget cuts on the other,” Kaminsky said.
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal- On criticized the government on her Facebook page, juxtaposing the lack of funding for the children with the NIS 54m. cost of nine deputy ministers for a term in office.
She further criticized the government for its “non-policy” on Gaza, saying that even if the psychological program budget is restored, “the Israeli government has to realize that Gaza will not disappear, and it is in all our interests to rehabilitate the Strip and turn it into a place where its citizens have a reason to live.”