Nearly a third of Israelis in north, south consider moving due to security fears

40% of respondents to Knesset poll say they do not feel safe, with southerners citing Gaza rocket fire as their main concern

People take cover during an air-raid warning siren in Sderot, southern Israel on November 13, 2019. (AP/Ariel Schalit)
People take cover during an air-raid warning siren in Sderot, southern Israel on November 13, 2019. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

Nearly a third of residents in the north and south of Israel are considering moving due to security concerns, a poll released Tuesday said.

Southern Israel has experienced several bouts of violence between Israel and Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip since the start of border protests last year, while in the north there have been tensions over Israeli effojhrts to counter the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah and Iran’s military presence in Syria.

In light of this, 31 percent of people living in these areas are considering leaving, according to a survey by the Knesset Research and Information Center.

This sentiment was higher among residents of the north, with 36% considering leaving, while in the south 28% of people are weighing a move.

Around half of southerners do not feel safe, with both Arabs and Jews living in the area saying their biggest concern was rocket fire from Gaza.

Illustrative: Police stand guard after a factory was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Sderot, southern Israel November 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

In the north, 30% of people do not feel safe, with that feeling significantly higher among Arabs (41%) than Jews (17%).

A press release from the Knesset on the poll did not say what the biggest security concern was of residents of the north and it was unclear if the greater feeling of insecurity among Arab Israelis there was linked to external threats or increased violence this year in the community.

Overall, 40% of Israelis in the so-called periphery said they do not feel safe.

Additionally, a third of Israelis in the south said they do not have a bomb shelter near their homes and 42% said they do not have one in their houses.

In the north, 35% of residents do not have bomb shelter near their houses and 36% do not have one at home.

An Israeli family shelters from Gaza rocket fire inside a bomb shelter in the coastal city of Ashkelon, Israel, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Accessibility to public bomb shelters, as defined by distance, availability and being open when necessary, was twice as high among Jews than Arabs. A third of Jewish respondents said they have low accessibility, versus two thirds for Arabs.

The survey also asked residents of the north and south whether they were content with the conduct of health, welfare and local authorities during emergencies, as well as whether their areas received appropriate media coverage.

Just under half of northerners felt coverage of the periphery was not suitable, while 58% of Israelis in the south said they were discontent with the press. The main complaint among residents of both the north and the south was that they felt their areas did not receive sufficient media coverage.

The poll included 1,400 respondents. The Knesset statement did not give a margin of error.

The release of the survey came weeks after the Israeli military and Palestinian Islamic Jihad engaged in two days of fighting sparked by Israel’s killing of a senior commander in the terror group.

There has been occasional rocket fire from Gaza since then, as well as retaliatory Israeli strikes.

Israeli officials have also been warning that Iran is plotting further attacks in the region and have vowed Israel will continue to act against Iranian efforts to entrench itself military in Syria.

The Israeli military said last month it struck dozens of targets in Syria after Iranian forces fired rockets at Israel.

A Syrian war monitor said 23 “fighters” were killed in the Israeli raids, 16 of whom were likely Iranian.

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