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NIS 5m. allocated to fortify Knesset against Kassams
11/22/2006
Knesset security officials denied that the changes were due to a specific security threat.
Only days after Knesset members struggled to explain to Sderot residents why their schools were not fortified against Kassam attacks, the Knesset voted to fortify the Knesset building against such attacks. Despite the parliament being well out of the range of current rocket attacks, the MKs in the Knesset House Committee on Budgetary Matters, a subcommittee of the Knesset House Committee, voted to spend NIS 5 million of the Knesset budget on fortifying the entire building against the threat of possible rocket attacks. The decision came only days after security officials in the Prime Minister's Office requested to bulletproof the prime minister's chair and the plenum podium. Knesset security officials denied that the changes were due to a specific security threat, calling the decision part of a larger move to modernize the Knesset. "It's been 40 years since this building was built, and it is simply time to make some changes," said security officials. "There is no reason for alarm." The request to fortify the Knesset came from Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik following a meeting with Southern Command security personnel. Knesset Secretary-General Avi Balashnikov presented the plan to MKs on the committee, stressing that the funds would come from the internal Knesset budget. Sderot residents expressed outrage that the Knesset was concerned with fortifying its own structure before they addressed the needs of the Kassam-ridden Gaza periphery. "The Knesset members come down here on their tours, but apparently we weren't able to send them the right message. Instead of wanting to help us fortify our schools, they decide to protect themselves," said Sderot resident Karen Moussawi. "It's an outrage, and it makes me see red to think of how selfish our elected officials are." A Knesset official said the Knesset was adding the fortifications out of its own budget, not the state budget that dictates building projects in Sderot.
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