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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The communities surrounding the Gaza Strip that have been plagued by Kassams for the past several years were given a bit of good news Wednesday when a Knesset bill granting them "confrontation line" status passed its first reading.
The bill, which was proposed by MKs Stas Miseznicov (Israel Beiteinu) and Shai Hermesh (Kadima) would give the Gaza periphery area the same status that was given to the North during the Second Lebanon War.
If the bill passes a second and third reading, the residents would receive financial benefits - including employer tax breaks, reduced local taxes, and special grants to small businesses.
Residents would also receive loans for purchasing homes in the region, free day care and private tutoring, and professional training courses for adults.
The government was initially opposed to the bill due to the Finance Ministry's objection to the high cost. The Knesset has already failed to pass nearly half a dozen bills to aid these communities.
On Tuesday, however, a last-minute push by a number of MKs convinced the government to remove their objection to the bill and allow it to pass its first reading.
"After six years of war and constant suffering, Sderot residents finally will receive recognition for their suffering," said Miseznicov.