ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF
ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS
PMO Dir.-Gen. Harel Locker Tours Communities in the Area Adjacent to the Gaza Strip and Ashdod
Photo by GPO
Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Harel Locker, who was appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to head the Government team on ensuring that the needs of the residents and communities that were affected by Operation Pillar of Defense are dealt with quickly, today toured communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip and Ashdod.
The team’s work in the days since the conclusion of the operation was presented at the discussion that PMO Dir.-Gen. Locker held today with the heads of the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip (Sderot and the Eshkol, Sha’ar Hanegev, Sdot Negev and Ashkelon Coast regional councils) and senior officials from the relevant Government ministries, at the Eshkol Regional Council offices. He noted that in addition to the immediate response by the tax authorities regarding compensation for direct damages, the Knesset Finance Committee today approved directives on compensation for indirect damages (loss of work days and compensation for businesses). As per Prime Minister Netanyahu’s instructions, an outline for quicker-than-usual compensation was formulated and approved. Locker also said that a preliminary NIS 15 million aid package has been approved for local authorities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip. In education, a plan is currently being formulated on restoring lost classroom hours; the emotional needs of children and young people are also being met. The team also discussed ways to encourage commercial activity and tourism in the area.
Locker underscored the great importance of assisting area residents and local councils and asked all Government ministries to continue joining in the effort. “The fact that we are meeting for the second time within a few days expresses our commitment to the residents and communities of the south. We must work to quickly normal life,” he said.
In his meeting with Ashdod Mayor Dr. Yehiel Lasri and senior municipality officials, and after visiting a building that took a direct hit by a rocket, Locker said, “The directive from the Prime Minister, on whose behalf I have come here today, is to work for the welfare of the residents of the area and deal with the problems that have arisen since the operation in a generous, efficient and rapid manner and in a way that minimizes the bureaucratic process. There is no doubt that the strength of the city of Ashdod stems from the national resilience of its residents, as well as from the defense afforded by Iron Dome and other protective measures. Naturally, we will continue to assist in its development, economic prosperity and excellent functioning.”
The work of PMO Dir.-Gen. Locker’s team follows up on recent Government decisions such as those to approve full protection for all communities 4.5-7 kilometers from the Gaza Strip, to approve an allocation of NIS 7.6 million in order to complete the financing of building protected daycare centers in communities with 0-7 kilometers from the Gaza Strip and to approve economic benefits for Sderot and the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip for 2013. These decisions complete the strategy of national resilience in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip: A combination of diplomatic, security and civilian components that strengthens the fortitude of the residents and councils in the area.