State tells court it won’t fortify Ashkelon schools

According to a preliminary estimate, it would cost NIS 20 million to reinforce only the oldest, least protected schools.

August 30, 2010 02:46
2 minute read.
Lacking class? Parents’ association president Etti Binyamnin thought it was inappropriate of thenopp

Parents Association 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/ Illustrative Photo)

If the government reinforced all the educational institutions in Ashkelon, as the municipality is demanding in a High Court petition, it would also have to reinforce the schools in Beersheba, Ashdod, Kiryat Gat, Rahat, Netivot, Ofakim, Kiryat Malachi, Yavne, Gedera and many other towns, the state said on Sunday in its reply to the court.

All of these towns are situated within a radius of seven to 40 kilometers from the Gaza Strip and are equally vulnerable to terrorist rocket attacks.

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The state added that according to a preliminary estimate, it would cost NIS 20 million to reinforce only the oldest and least protected of the schools in Ashkelon. Experience showed, the state added, that the final cost might be double that.

If it had to reinforce the oldest and least protected schools within a seven to 20 kilometer radius of the Gaza Strip, the state would have to spend about NIS 90m. – a preliminary estimate.

In Ashdod, which is located 22 kilometers from Gaza, it would cost the state NIS 16m. to reinforce the oldest and least protected schools, and this estimate does not include the city’s kindergartens.

The state added that today, the terrorist threat from Gaza extends beyond the 40-kilometer radius that had been declared as the danger zone during Operation Cast Lead a year and a half ago.

“Like Ashkelon,” wrote the state’s representative, Ilel Amir, “many cities are now under the threat of rocket fire by Hamas or other hostile elements. There is no argument that justifies distinguishing between Ashkelon and these other cities that have been hit during the general escalation of the past few years, including Haifa, the Krayot, Kiryat Gat, Beersheba and Yavne.”

The terrorists, warned Amir, have rockets that can reach almost anywhere in Israel.

Amir added that the state had agreed only to fortify the schools within seven kilometers of Gaza, including in Sderot and in several kibbutzim and moshavim. These settlements are designated as the Gaza perimeter and they have sustained most of the attacks from the Strip. The state has refused to fortify the schools of any other community in the country.

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