Local leaders in the Western Negev gathered in Sderot on Wednesday to discuss growing fears of Hamas terror tunnels from nearby Gaza.
Yifat Ben Shushan, a resident of Netiv Ha’asara and member of the Movement for the Future of the Western Negev, was among those in attendance at Wednesday’s conference in Sderot.
Ben Shushan noted with frustration that while opposition party leaders participated in the event, no representatives from the coalition were present.
“I was really disappointed that leaders from the coalition didn’t come to speak with us. They all come down here for photo ops when there’s a war, but [now] they don’t relate to us at all, [they] don’t even send a single [coalition] representative.”
Ben Shushan said the recent discovery of a Hamas terror tunnel leading into Israel was too little, too late.
“A year and eight months have passed since Operation Protective Edge. What’s happened since then? The threat of the terror tunnels is still here. If they would develop some kind of solution far enough ahead of time – and today we’re hearing all the things experts have been saying – we wouldn’t have to deal with the threat of these terror tunnels.”
“Unfortunately,” said Ben Shushan, “the government wastes time like in the case of the [anti-tunnel] barrier, which still hasn’t gotten funding. They told us today at the conference that we’re living on a powder keg, and that’s worrisome.”
Ben Shushan’s criticism of the government went beyond security concerns, however. Noting the poor results of Western Negev schools in recent standardized tests, she called on Education Minister Naftali Bennett to invest in Gaza-area schools.
“The results of the last standardized tests were really disappointing,” said Ben Shushan. “The scores in the Gaza border area were low. The state invests in fortified buildings, but not in the children who sit in them. We need to invest here [enough] to achieve excellence, not just survival. I want us to get the kind of support [they get] everywhere else in the country.”