Arab communities lack bomb shelters

Mossawa report: War fatalities resulted from inadequate protection.

nazareth kids dead 298 (photo credit: Courtesy)
nazareth kids dead 298
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Mossawa Center on Thursday called on the government to prepare a special plan to close the gap between the number of bomb shelters in the Arab and Jewish sectors as part of its overall responsibility to build more shelters throughout the country to protect the home front. The statement came in response to the state comptroller's report on the government's handling of the home front before and during the Second Lebanese War, published Wednesday. The report emphasized the wide gap between the needs of the population and the number of bomb shelters and other means of protection currently available to the civilian sector. Mossawa spokeswoman Hanan Hadad said the report itself provided examples of the discrimination against the Arab sector in these matters. She referred to several findings in the report such as the fact that in 2003, the northern district of the Home Front Command surveyed the demand for shelters in the civilian sector and found that there were differences in the degree of protection among all the local authorities, but that in most of the Israeli Arab authorities there are no public shelters at all. Thus, the report found that there were no pubic shelters in Nazareth and Arabeh and that the only shelters in Abu Snan, Tuba Zangriya, Yanuch-Jatt, Kfar Yassif and Nahaf were in the local schools. According to the report, 75 percent of the inhabitants of Nazareth are unprotected, 99% in Arabeh and 80% in Yarca. Altogether, 153,000 Israeli Arabs have no protection at all. The state comptroller also found that of NIS 46 million allocated by the Interior Ministry for emergency services in 2006 and 2007, only NIS 1.71m. went to the Arab sector. "The budget gaps which discriminate against the Arab communities led to the loss of life during the war and what is needed now is immediate government action, not media spins," said Mossawa. "Because of these gaps and the lack of protection, 19 Arabs of Israel lost their lives and thousands were wounded."