The coalition shot down a bill that would have required the government to build an emergency room fortified against rocket fire in Sderot in a preliminary reading on Wednesday. The vote fell to 51 against and 42 for.
The emergency room would cost NIS 20 million, NIS 14 million of which has already been set aside by the Sderot municipality, leaving a gap of about NIS 6 million which the bill would have had the state cover. The bill would also have the state provide a consistent budget for the emergency room. The matter was not included in the state budget passed last week.
Emergency room proposal shot down just two weeks after 1,000 rockets fired
Yesh Atid MK Debbie Biton, a resident of Sderot, expressed outrage at the decision by the coalition to knock down the bill, noting that hundreds of millions were granted to a series of small offices and departments in the government in the latest state budget.
Biton stressed that the coalition's rejection comes just two weeks after Operation Shield and Arrow when over 1,000 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel.
"Are you so easily ready to abandon the residents of Sderot and the Gaza border communities, most of whom voted for you, believed you?" said Biton addressing members of the coalition before the vote.
The MK read a letter from Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi in which he stated that "in light of the situation, it would be reasonable to assume that in Sderot, a city found on the front of attacks from Gaza, there should be appropriate healthcare services, but this is not the situation."
The fortified emergency room would make it so that residents of Sderot would not need to drive to hospitals in Ashkelon or Beersheba, the nearest hospitals to the city, in the middle of rocket fire in order to get emergency healthcare.
Before the vote, Development of the Negev and Galilee and National Resilience Minister Yitzhak Wasserlauf (Otzma Yehudit) noted the numerous gaps in healthcare services between the north and south and the center.