ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Government directorate lays out rehabilitation plan for war-ravaged Gaza communities

The rehabilitation of 45 communities located up to 7 kilometers from the border is estimated to take at least five years and cost billions of shekels

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

The scene where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian terrorists hit in the southern city of Sderot, October 17, 2023. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
The scene where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian terrorists hit in the southern city of Sderot, October 17, 2023. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The government directorate for the rehabilitation of the communities in the Gaza envelope that have suffered extensive devastation following the onslaught by the Hamas terror group on Thursday presented its initial work plan, that is estimated to cost billions of shekels.

The rehabilitation plan for the 45 communities located up to 7 kilometers from the Gaza Strip border is divided into three phases, Hebrew reports said, from dealing in the near term with evacuated residents, to absorbing those residents in kibbutzim, and to the reconstruction of the destroyed housing and localities.

Israel is almost three weeks into a war with Hamas after the Iran-backed terror group’s murderous assault on the country’s south on October 7, in which some 2,500 terrorists streamed into Israel by land, sea, and air, killing some 1,400 people, mostly civilians, burning and destroying houses, and injuring thousands more.

Some 200,000 Israelis have been internally displaced in the ongoing war and amid escalating skirmishes on the Lebanon border in the north with terror group Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions, according to Israeli authorities.

The directorate established for a period of five years is headed by former IDF Brig.-Gen. Moshe Edri. It was budgeted with an initial NIS 1 billion ($245 million) in the first phase, in which it will deal with the care and assistance of residents who were evacuated from the communities and who were partly put up in hotels.

In the second phase, aimed to help with the immediate housing needs of evacuated residents in coming weeks, one option is that they will be moved to kibbutzim and live in modular homes or caravillas until they can return to their restored or rebuilt houses.

The third phase of the plan will begin with a return to new homes.

The regional councils that will be included in the reconstruction plan are Ashkelon, Shaar HaNegev, Sdot Negev, Eshkol, as well as the city of Sderot.

Each community has been allocated an initial NIS 2 million ($490,000) for urgent and immediate needs, the Finance Ministry said. The Eshkol regional council will receive an advance of NIS 20 million ($4.9 million) for the communities within its area, including Kibbutz Be’eri, Kisufim, Kerem Shalom, and Nir Oz. The Sdot Negev regional council will receive an advance of NIS 4 million ($981,000), the Shaar HaNegev regional council will receive an advance of NIS 12 million ($2.9 million), and the city of Sderot will receive an advance of NIS 7 million ($1.7 million).

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