Gaza border mayors: Rockets on us should have same impact as ones on Tel Aviv

Written by on May 20, 2021

Moves being made in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to extend protection from rockets to 15 km.

Damage to a house in the Israeli city of Sderot which was hit by rockets fired by Hamas militants in Gaza, into Israel. May 15, 2021. (photo credit: AVI ROCCAH/FLASH90)

Damage to a house in the Israeli city of Sderot which was hit by rockets fired by Hamas militants in Gaza, into Israel. May 15, 2021.

(photo credit: AVI ROCCAH/FLASH90)

Several Gaza border mayors on Thursday pressed a special meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (FADC) in Sderot to take their defense more seriously, saying “the rule for Sderot must be like the rule for Tel Aviv, and the rule for Ashkelon, like the rule for Jerusalem.”

The mayors’ point was that the government is perceived as tolerating rocket fire on Gaza corridor communities, including Sderot and even Ashkelon, while it is only willing to go to war and take on Hamas if it fires rockets on “important” cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as has occurred in the last 10 days.

This is a common theme from Gaza border mayors who face rocket fire sometimes year round – even throughout the “quiet” years dating back to the last war with Hamas in 2014 – whereas Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and central Israel are usually only attacked during major conflicts.

The purpose of FADC chairwoman Orna Barbivai moving the meeting from the Knesset “into the field” in Sderot was to show solidarity with the Gaza border towns.

Multiple Knesset MKs said they would support more than doubling the emergency budget for protection from rocket fire to 15 km. from the current 7 km.

For example, Ashkelon’s mayor said that even as the closest Gaza border communities are now protected with safe rooms and bomb shelters – following criticism of them not being protected during the 2014 Gaza War – his city now suffers just as much from rocket fire, but has much less funding for protection.

MKs said that Ashkelon being left out of funding for rocket protection is part of an outdated concept from a time when most of Hamas’s rocket capabilities were more limited and it was harder for them to reach Ashkelon.

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