Cabinet Extends Benefits for Sderot, Gaza Belt

The aid package includes economic benefits for area residents, health and employment services.

Gil Ronen ,

Taking shelter in Sderot (file)
Taking shelter in Sderot (file)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The cabinet has extended the special benefits given to residents of Sderot and the Gaza Belt for another year, until the end of 2013.

The aid package for te region, which is under constant terror rocket threat, includes economic benefits for area residents, as well as expanded health and social welfare services.

The economic benefits include 20% tax exemption, 30% discount on local property tax for residences and daycare subsidies.

Health and social welfare services include expanded psychological and psychological-social services for those suffering from shock, especially children, at five area centers.

The communities also receive assistance in operating emergency medical services – additional critical care ambulances, operation of a night medical switchboard and increased staff at the Sderot mental health care center.

Special assistance for local councils includes economic assistance to local councils – NIS 8 million for the Municipality of Sderot and NIS 5 million for the regional councils in the area.

Employment assistance and aid to businesses include:

* Operation of an employment track to absorb new employees in the area

* A 24% discount on local property tax for industry, commerce and services

* A 15% preference in the allocation of foreign workers for agriculture

* Exemption from Israel Land Administration leasing fees

The current government has made similar decisions to strengthen civilian resilience in each of the past four years at an overall cost of NIS 785 million.

This decision joins last week's Cabinet decision regarding protection for the homes of residents 4.5-7 kilometers from the Gaza perimeter fence.