Government prepares aid package for residents near Gaza border

Councils will receive help to strengthen their emergency systems; residents will receive compensation for lost work days.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Cabinet voted Sunday to approve the formulation of an aid and compensation package for Gaza envelope residents and regional councils in the wake of the three-day Operation Breaking Dawn that was launched 10 days ago and the closures in the South that immediately preceded it.

“This government will not disappear from their lives as soon as the guns stop firing,” Prime Minister Yair Lapid stated. “We sat down with the heads of the authorities in the envelope, and the package presented today is the product of our work with them.”

The immediate security needs are part of the package. This includes reinforcing emergency communications systems, solutions for a steady electricity supply during emergencies, equipping and completing operations centers, and additional portable emergency shelters.

“Just as I said throughout the operation and on the day after, all those who were hurt are entitled to assistance,” said Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman. “The responses that we are providing will be immediate and we will utilize all means necessary for them to be provided efficiently and without impediments.”

Liberman had already announced early last week that all those who lived within 40 kilometers of the Strip would receive monetary compensation if they could not get to their places of work due to the shutdown of roads and trains in the region. Businesses in the area will also receive compensation, with the Finance Ministry meeting Tuesday to approve the plan.

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The closure was in effect for four days before the IDF preemptively started attacking Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the Gaza Strip on Friday, August 5. The concern at the time was that the terrorist organization would launch rockets at the area, which it had threatened to do after Israeli security forces arrested one of its top leaders, Bassam al-Saadi, in Jenin four days earlier.

During the 66-hour weekend skirmish, PIJ indiscriminately launched over 1,100 rockets and mortars at Israel. Many were misfired or shot down by the Iron Dome defense system. There were no Israeli casualties.

Still, more than 100 people have reported to the Tax Authority that they suffered property damage. They will receive aid from the government’s standing Property Tax Compensation Fund, whose assessors come after every round of rocket attacks to help citizens rebuild or replace what they lost.