update deskIsrael at War

Israel boosting security in Gaza border communities

Work started in eight border localities, with additional villages to follow in the coming days.

Destruction at Kibbutz B'eri in southern Israel.  Dec. 19, 2023. Photo by Moshe Shai/Flash90.
Destruction at Kibbutz B'eri in southern Israel. Dec. 19, 2023. Photo by Moshe Shai/Flash90.

Israeli authorities have started work on upgrading security measures in communities surrounding the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces and Defense Ministry announced on Thursday.

Work started in the border communities of Gvar’am, Mavki’im, Dorot, Bror Hayil, Ruhama, Yakhini, Ibim and Yad Mordechai, with additional locales to follow in the coming days.

The project, led by the Defense Ministry’s Engineering and Construction Division, Settlement Division and its “New Horizon” Command, working alongside the IDF, seeks to improve or replace fences and gates and construct new roads and other physical security barriers.

As residents of the south gradually begin to return home, the IDF and Defense Ministry are also building facilities for a permanent military presence throughout the region. In addition, the communities’ first-response teams will be equipped with all the necessary equipment.

The IDF Home Front Command recently announced that residents of communities located 2.5 miles to 4.3 miles from the Gaza Strip would be able to voluntarily return to their homes. Gvar’am, Mavki’im, Dorot, Bror Hayil and Yakhini fall within this range. An exception was made for residents of Yad Mordechai, which is less than two miles from the border.

On Sunday, schools reopened in Sderot for the first time since they were shuttered five months ago. Only about 30% of the population has returned to Sderot, which is located less than a mile from Gaza.

Last week, 82 families from Shlomit who were evacuated after Hamas’s onslaught returned to their homes in the Negev community, located only miles from Israel’s borders with Egypt and Gaza.

“We want to believe that things are going to be safe. We have a great security team, and we trust that the IDF has learned the lessons of Oct. 7,” one resident told JNS.

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