Date: 04/01/2009, 8:58 PM     Author: Arnon Ben Dror

Over the past few days, the Home Front Command and the Defense Ministry began taking safety measures in the cities in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip, such as Netivot, Yated, Yevul and Atzmona. Protective shelters are being set up all over these cities. The Home Front Command mentions that these precautionary steps are being taken because of the drastically increased number of missile attacks from the Gaza Strip and the growing distance that the missiles are reaching in Israeli territory.

As a result of the IDF (Zahal) ground operation and the expectation that Hamas will increase the number of rocket attacks on Israeli cities, the Home Front Command has decided that schools will be closed in all cities in a 40 km range from the security fence, with the exception of Meitar, where schools will be open as usual. In cities and towns within a 30 to 40 km range, people will only be allowed to work if there is a protected room big enough for all the workers at the workplace. All schools will be closed, including protected educational institutions, which were allowed to operate as usual until now.

It was decided on Saturday (Dec. 3), that a national volunteer headquarters will be formed by the Missions Department of the Kibbutz Movement. Every citizen between ages 18 to 70 can participate in volunteer activities in the South that the Home Front Command has established. The volunteer activities include establishing new protected rooms, mending defects in the existing protected rooms, organizing recreational activities for people in shelters, and anything else required by the local authorities. The activities will take place in the cities of Beer Sheva, Netivot, Sderot, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Ofakim.

Volunteers can call to register every day between 08:00 and 18:00, and 200 citizens have already signed up. The Kibbutz Movement is very happy with the response and is expecting registration to continue at a similar pace. The volunteering activities are meant to start on Monday (Dec. 05). The volunteers’ insurance, food and housing will be financed by governmental institutions. Anyone interested in volunteering should call 03-6925398/7/6.