Government Begins Fortifying Gaza Belt Schools
The government has begun construction to fortify all schools located in the area located seven to 15 kilometers from Gaza.
Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai officially launched the project Wednesday during a tour of the south.
All educational institutions located in Israeli communities are to be fortified under the project, which is expected to cost some NIS 90 million.
Construction is expected to take less than two years, and to be completed by September of next year.
But nearly two years ago, residents in the southern city of Ashkelon had already demanded the government fortify their school buildings from rocket attacks as well.
Grad Katyusha missile attacks have reached as far north as Gan Yavne – north of both Ashkelon and Ashdod – with some of them occasionally exploding in classrooms when they land on the buildings. Miraculously, the buildings that were hit have been empty of children, usually because classes have been canceled due to a barrage of rocket attacks that were launched by the Gaza-based terrorists.
The issue of how far to extend fortification of public buildings in southern Israel has long been a subject of fierce debate among political and military officials, due to the issue of whether such a move will be cost effective in the long run.
It is believed that the arsenal held by the Hamas terrorist organization that maintains a choke hold on the Gaza region today contains mid-to-longer range missiles, some of which can reach as far north as Tel Aviv. Thus far, Palestinian Authority terrorists have fired missiles up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) into Israel from Gaza.