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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Israel Gov't urged to aid Sderot residents who want to leave

Last update - 04:38 22/05/2007   
By Ruth Sinai, Haaretz Correspondent

Dozens of residents of Sderot would like to leave the town because of the Qassam rocket threat, but are unable to rent apartments elsewhere so long as they are burdened with mortgage payments.
The Yedid nonprofit organization therefore urged Housing Minister Meir Sheetrit, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Supervisor of Banks Rony Hizkiyahu Monday to take steps to help Sderot residents who wish to leave the town.
Sabina Michaelov sought Yedid's help on behalf of her parents, who have resided in Sderot for more than a decade. "They love the town and would like to stay there, but after seven years of Qassam attacks, they are fed up," she said.
The apartment building in which Michaelov's parents live has no reinforced rooms. Even though there is a bomb shelter on their street, the 20 seconds that elapse between the siren warning of a rocket launch and the time it strikes its target is insufficient for the elderly couple to reach cover.
Michaelov said that her parents pay more than NIS 1,000 per month for their mortgage and they are unable to pay rent elsewhere. She therefore asked Yedid to assist in convincing the bank to freeze the payments.
Michaelov says many new immigrants living in Sderot are interested in leaving.
Yedid Director Ran Melamed said he asked the ministers and the supervisor of banks to authorize rent subsidies for Sderot residents so they can live in another town as long as the "special situation on the home front" that Peretz declared last week continues.

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