PM, Ashkelon mayor discuss financial aid

Olmert told it is unacceptable that the government is considering costs while the city is under attack.

Olmert 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
Olmert 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Ashkelon Mayor Roni Mahatzri on Thursday to discuss the recent upsurge in rocket attacks from Gaza on the southern city. Mahatzri requested an aid package to the city in the form of financial assistance to businesses, reimbursement for damages caused by rocket attacks and the development of city infrastructure. The mayor expressed outrage at reported statements by Finance Ministry officials that there was no intention to compensate Ashkelon for the rocket damage. "It is unacceptable that while the city of Ashkelon is under attack, the finance minister and his deputies will be occupied with how much it will cost them," Mahatzri said. "The damage to the economy and the damage to property in the city are the Finance Ministry's responsibility, and I won't let anyone evade covering the damages." At the end of the meeting, Olmert instructed the director-general of the Prime Minister's Office, Ra'anan Dinur, to hold a discussion on the issue while examining the financial ramifications of such assistance. Olmert also commended Ashkelon's residents for their conduct during recent days and said the resilience they showed was "amazing and noteworthy."