kassam drill kids 88.
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Only one-third of the NIS 210 million that the government has approved for reinforcing kindergartens and schools in the Jewish communities in the Gaza periphery has been allocated so far, a group of petitioners from Sderot charged in a petition filed Sunday to the High Court of Justice.
According to Batya Katar, head of the Sderot Parents' Association, Sderot's share of the money has been used to reinforce two or three classrooms each on the top and ground floors of the city's schools. All the other classrooms, auxiliary rooms and open spaces are still unprotected, due to bureaucratic bungling and procrastination over the past few years.
Katar told The Jerusalem Post that there were days when as many as 80 Kassam rockets fell in Sherot. "When two soldiers were kidnapped in the north, the country went to war to help them," she said. "We don't count. What is it, do we not belong to the State of Israel. Do we not have Jewish blood? I don't know where I belong."
The petition was submitted by the Parents' Association, represented by Attorney Omri Kabiri, and the Movement for Quality Education, represented by Attorney Ruth Dayan Madar. They are demanding that the government immediately make the entire budget available so that all the schools can be fully protected.
The petitioners charged that in September 2004, the IDF Home Front decided to reinforce the roofs of the kindergartens and schools in the Gaza periphery. Even as early as 2001 there were sporadic rocket attacks at Israeli targets in the area. By 2003, the shooting had become more intense, causing casualties and damage to property.
The issue became more urgent after the government under former prime minister Ariel Sharon decided to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza. However, the army and the Ministry of Defense did not approve the plan to reinforce the schools until March 2005, just five months before the withdrawal and six months before the beginning of the new school year. The government first considered the plan in May 2005, but did not discuss the financing of the project at that meeting. The budget was only approved in July 2005, one month before the project was supposed to have been completed.
So far, the government has funded only NIS 70 million in the 2005 and 2006 budgets.
Sderot residents are also incensed over the fact that it wants to spread the budget over several years in the hope that the Kassam attacks will cease and the government will not have to pay the full sum of money. "What makes them think it will happen this way?" the petitioners asked. "In the past few years the facts show that the opposite is true, that the shooting has increased and the lives of the students are in constant danger year after year."