Israel's government voted unanimously Sunday to fortify the homes of citizens who live near Gaza.
The measure, approved during the weekly Cabinet meeting, means that every building located in Israeli towns located within a 4.5 to 7-kilometer radius from Gaza will be fortified against rocket and mortar attacks.
The cost of reinforcing the roofs of the buildings is expected to reach at least NIS 270 million, according to conservative estimates.
The Cabinet also authorized the Prime Minister to decide, within 30 days, on the sources of financing without the need to submit the issue for Cabinet approval.
"This will provide security for residents of the south. We are doing this because attacks by rockets and missiles at shorter distances are much greater in the area around the Gaza Strip than at other distances, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said. "I think that this is what residents of the south have been hoping for, they have been calling for it for a long time."
The reason for such global protection has to do with the limitations of the Iron Dome anti-missile system, which is (1) expensive, and (2) takes a certain amount of time, to operate.
Each Iron Dome missile launched as an interceptor to destroy a rocket that has been fired at an Israeli target costs some $50,000.
In addition, it takes at least several seconds for the system to move into action.
Residents living in the Gaza Belt region – those who live within a 7-kilometer radius – don't have those few precious seconds to spare. It takes less than 10 seconds for a Qassam rocket or mortar shell to reach their homes, once it is launched from Gaza.
The Color Red incoming rocket alert siren gives residents of those communities a 10-second warning to find shelter from a pending attack.