Report: Most Arab communities in North have no bomb shelters
41% (18 out of 44) of the Israeli civilians killed by rocket fire during last summer's fighting were Arab.
By SHELLY PAZ
Most Arab communities in the North have no bomb shelters, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel.
According to this report, the lessons of the second Lebanon war concerning the Israeli Arab population have not been learned.
According to Mossawa's report, Arab villages and towns suffered greatly during the war, particularly since protected facilities, public or private, hardly exist there.
As a result of this lack of shelters, 41% (18 out of 44) of the Israeli civilians killed by rocket fire during last summer's fighting were Arab.
"Most Arab towns do not have public bomb shelters or alarm systems. For example, there is not a single public bomb shelter in Nazareth, while there are 523 bomb shelters in the neighboring city of Upper Nazareth. We counted 600 bomb shelters in Karmiel and zero bomb shelters in the neighboring local council of El-Shagur," Mossawa's media coordinator, Hanan Haddad said yesterday.
"There is no change in the protection facilities in Nazareth. What we had before and during the war, is what we have now, not a single public bomb shelter or any alarm system," said Ramiz Jaraisy, mayor of Nazareth.
"Today I presented to the committee in the Knesset an economical alternative for subsidizing the building of fortified rooms in private houses and apartments in Nazareth. This way the costs would be lower to the country, no public bomb shelters would be needed and the citizens would enjoy additions to their houses which would also be used as fortified rooms," said Jaraisy, whose city of 74,000 residents suffered the loss of two children who were killed by a rocket.
"There is no doubt that we, as Arab citizens, are treated inequitably. Even the extreme-right MKs admit it. The only question is what can be done to fix this situation," he added pessimistically.
"The Home Front Command was not ready and could not hand out information in Arabic to those who needed it during the war," said Mossawa's report. "The Arabic brochures were ready and distributed only at a late stage of the war and the instructions were not adequate for the Arab towns. In addition, the Home Front Command did not ask for air time in Arabic from any of the three main channels and did not provide suitable information to the electronic media," the report said.
"Half of the houses in our village, which were built in recent years, have fortified rooms, while the other half do not," said Samir Abu Zed, the head of the Arab village of El-Aboun near Tiberias. "The entire town, 4,700 people, has one public bomb shelter that needs serious renovation and a ventilation system. We also asked for another alarm system since most of the residents just couldn't hear the current, old system during the war," said Abu Zed.
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