Minister Decries Failure to Protect Religious Services Infrastructure

YERUSHALAYIM -

Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan decried the Netanyahu government’s “failure” to provide protection against Gaza rockets for the country’s religious sites across the south, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.

Ben-Dahan has requested funds to pay for hundreds of concrete bomb shelters for shuls, mikvaos and cemeteries in those communities most vulnerable to Hamas terrorism.

The news comes after a rocket hit a shul in Ashdod on Friday, injuring three people and seriously damaging the shul and adjacent homes.

The ministry emphasized in particular the dangers posed to gravediggers in cemeteries, noting that they have to work in open ground without bomb shelters close by, and that their work is time-consuming, increasing their exposure to rocket attacks.

In total, the ministry estimated that, within a 25-mile radius of Gaza, there are 122 cemeteries, 166 mikvaos and 1,481 shuls.

Total cost for the security upgrade was estimated at NIS 1,632,000.

It noted that previous requests for additional funding submitted to the relevant government authorities have not yet been answered.

“So far, some 200 shuls have turned to us on this matter due to the fact that during previous operations, Pillar of Defense and Cast Lead,” the matter was not dealt with,” said Ben-Dahan.