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Gov?t to Protect 24 Schools In 7-Km Radius of Gaza

After 107 rockets landed in the Negev in less than a week, and following demonstrations and a hunger strike, the government will finally start reinforcing the schools located in range of Kassams.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 6/15/2006, 2:06 PM / Last Update: 6/15/2006, 12:36 AM

IDF Home Front Command officials informed Defense Minister Amir Peretz on Wednesday that the study he ordered to determine which schools in southern Israel are within reach of the rockets was complete.

Officials found 24 schools in a seven-mile radius of Gaza which require protection. Half of the schools were located in Sderot.

It is expected that most of the schools will be reinforced by September, officials said. Two will need to be completely rebuilt. The cost of reinforcing the roofs of the other 22 schools will total some NIS 165 million.

In an effort to save time and money, Peretz directed the Ministry’s in-house contractor to carry out the project rather than offer the job on a public tender.

Residents of communities in the south of Israel have spent months trying, with little success, to convince IDF officials to take concrete action to protect their children. Unfulfilled promises of aid, and funds approved but mainly not spent on the project, and retaliation by IDF artillery attacks on empty Gaza fields led to frustrated and traumatized families.