ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 143

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Education Ministry says schools in Sderot to open on March 3

Gavriel Fiske is a reporter at The Times of Israel

A man walks past the Sderot police station, which was destroyed during battles to dislodge Hamas gunmen inside, on October 8, 2023. (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP)
A man walks past the Sderot police station, which was destroyed during battles to dislodge Hamas gunmen inside, on October 8, 2023. (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP)

Schools in the southern city of Sderot are to resume operations on March 3, the Education Ministry announces.

Sderot (population 30,000) has for months been largely evacuated due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, with residents living in hotels or other temporary conditions elsewhere in the country, mostly in Eilat.

The decision was made in conjunction with the Sderot municipality and with the approval of the Home Front Command, the ministry says. Residents who wish to can remain outside the city until July with state support, the statement says.

For families who have already returned to the city, some kindergartens and classes for 1- to 3rd-graders will begin operation on February 18, and limited special education and youth programming is to begin on February 20.

The education systems set up for evacuated Sderot residents in other areas will be shut down on February 19, the notice says.

Last week a group of mayors from Gaza-adjacent communities, including Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, camped overnight outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, demanding that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant issue statements and provide written confirmation that it’s safe for residents who were evacuated from their homes due to the war to go back.

“We will continue to demand from the government and the army total security and the return of a sense of security to the city… It was important for us to allow residents to choose when they wish to return to the city, without force, and to open educational frameworks for them,” Davidi says in a separate statement today.

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