The Knesset approved on Monday the preliminary reading of a bill that requires public shelters to include infrastructure for internet access.
According to the bill, which was submitted by Orly Levy-Abekasis (Yisrael Beiteinu), a public shelter located in a community defined by an order of the Minister of Defense as being located in an area of confrontation will be set up with a wireless internet communication.
The explanatory notes to the bill said that “the Second Lebanon War in the north and Operation Cast Lead in the south have created a reality which is difficult and complex for hundreds of thousands of residents for whom normal life stopped and a routine of war became a fact of life. During this period, the educational system in these communities shut down and children and teenagers had to sit idly in shelters, scared and frustrated.”
The notes added, “For a long time period, children and teenagers whose home does not have a protected space had to stay in public shelters without a regulated education system, educational programs and cultural enrichment, which led to gaps and lost educational time.
“In today’s advanced digital age, networking all public shelters with a high speed wireless internet connection is an important need which will allow, during periods of war and confrontation, for studies, classes and enrichment. In addition, an internet connection will allow residents in shelters to be involved in what is happening around them and will help ease the tension and anxieties of those who sit for long periods in shelters and protected public spaces.”
The bill, which passed unanimously, will now be transferred to the Knesset’s Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee, where it will be prepared for its first reading.