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Thursday, November 2, 2006

Innocent Questions

David Bedein, the well-known Israeli journalist, muckraker and more is actually a trained Social Worker.

Here's an example of how he has combined all of his knowledge, training and skills to investigate the government's plans for Sderot, the Negev city which has been bombed for well over a year by the Arabs who have now taken over Gush Katif after Israel threw out the innocent, law-abiding Jewish Israelis who had been living there for decades, in the name of Disengagement.


Correspondence with advisor to the Prime Minister of Israel responsible for
Galilee & Negev regions.

October 16th, 2006

To: Gal Alon, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Israel
From: David Bedein, MSW, Bureau Chief, Israel Resource News Agency

Dear Gal,

This is written after visiting our new bureau in Sderot which will serve
the foreign media.

Since Israel can expect an escalation of attacks in the south over the
next few months, please note the following queries which have been generated
from our office in Sderot:

1. While there are 17 social work professionals in Sderot, the city needs
a center for coordination of emergency social services and it needs a trauma
center. At the same time, there is a sore lack of funding for
psychiatrists and psychologists on the scene, Will the government allocate
funds for these purposes?

2. The 80 shelters in Sderot are locked and not yet ready, and at least 10
of the shelters are without water and electricity. Will the government
immediately prepare these shelters, to be ready to cope with a Lebanon-type
situation of constant fire?

3. Al least 800 homes in Sderot have no safe rooms in case of attack. Will
the government allocate resources to build safe rooms contiguous to these
homes?

4. Only 20% of the 34 million shekel security protection budget has been
allocated. Will the rest of the funds be allocated?

5. Some schools have been protected and others have not been protected,
while only parts of some schools have been protected. When will the protection
in the schools be completed?

6. Sderot is being fired at from the haven of the UNRWA camp in Jabalya.
The people in UNRWA camp of Jabalya are descended from residents of Najd which
is now Sderot, and they feel that they have a right to fire missiles from
Jabalya at Sderot. The question is: Will the government make a formal demand to
UNRWA and to the nations which fund UNRWA (USA- 31%, for example) to stop
allowing UNRWA Jabalya residents from firing rockets into Sderot?

B'vracha,

DAVID
cell 0547 222 661
==================================
Answer received on October 30th, 2006

David,

Our comment:
"The government has decided to include Sderot and all other villages
around the Gaza Strip in a large 2.8 billion Shekels' plan to strengthen the
North and Haifa. Under this plan, significant budgets are invested in creating
education and employment opportunities. A full presentation about it can
be found on our website. Generally, the government allocates annual funds to
the local authorities to support the welfare services, and decisions about
provision at the local level should be directed to the relevant
authorities".

The issue of shelters is under the responsibility of the Ministry of
Interior, and questions should be directed to the local authority as well,
which is the major body who is in charge on the shelters. As to the
protection of school classes - the decision as of the way to protect these
classes (including which classes should be protected) was taken by
professionals. As to your questions about the lack of shelters and the
amount of budget used already - I have no information about it.

Regards,

Gal.
============
Gal Alon
Prime Minister's Office
3 Kaplan Street, Jerusalem, Israel
Office: +972 (2) 6705518

Mobile: +972 (50) 6205766
Fax: +972 (2) 6513955
Email: gal.alon@it.pmo.gov.il
Web: www.pmo.gov.il
=======================================
FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS:

To: Gal Alon, Office of the Prime Minister of Israel
From: David Bedein, Israel Resource News Agency
Date: 1 November 2006

Dear Gal,

Thank you for relating to my questions, which are written from my perspective
as a veteran community organization social worker (1974-1986) and my work as a
journalist (1987-present)

Here are the follow up questions to your response:

1. Will there be an increase in the Israel government welfare allocations to
Sderot and to the Western Negev, to ad the amount of social workers,
psychologists and Psychiatrists? Will a trauma center be created? Given the
emergency stress situation of an area under siege, if the government does not
have the resources, will the PM ask for resources from private corporations
and/or from local or foreign philanthropies? While you are correct to note that
all decisions are made on the local level, as you point out, all policies and
all increased allocations emanate from the national level.

Since Mr. Ehud Olmert also acts as he Minister of Social Affairs, it would also
be appropriate to address these questions to him in that capacity.

2. You are correct in noting that the decision to protect the schools is taken
by professionals in the Israel Ministry of Education and in the local
department of education. However, the Ministry of Education and the local department of
education do not have any more budget left in order to protect the schools,
leaving some schools partially protected and some schools not protected at all.
Follow-up question: Will Prime Minister Olmert initiate an effort to raise
funds that are needed to protect ALL schools and kindergartens in Sderot and the
Western Negev? Given the emergency stress situation of an area under siege, if
the government does not have the resources, will the PM ask for resources from
private corporations and/or from local or foreign philanthropies?

3, We have determined that the issue of shelters is under the jurisdiction of
the Israel Civil Defence Command of "PIKUD HAOREF". Since our news agency
cannot elicit a straight answer from them as to why the shelters in Sderot are
locked and not prepared for the eventuality of an escalation of bombing which
would require the residents of Sderot to stay in shelters while bombing
occurs, will the office of the Prime Minister of Israel intervene to make sure
that the shelters in Sderot are immediately prepared? Lives depend on this.

Thank you again for your time, and best of luck in your position.

Yours,

David

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