An argument broke out Sunday between the Prime Minister’s office and the Ministry of Defense regarding whether to activate the ‘Color Red’ Kassam alert system in Ashkelon in order to warn citizens of impending attacks.
During a special meeting called by the prime minister, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and the defense establishment suggested that the alert system be activated in order to notify the residents when Palestinians fire rockets at their city. Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office Raanan Dinur, who opposed the proposal, said that it was impossible to raise the issue without sufficient preparation.
“It has far reaching implications. It could cause major panic,” Dinur said during the meeting.
Sources within the Prime Minister’s office said that the ‘Color Red’ system is not precise, and that even if a Kassam will fall 1 kilometer from Ashkelon, the siren will send an entire city of 120,000 residents into panic. The sources noted that until now, only 12 Kassams have fallen on Ashkelon.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert decided to fortify the educational institutions in Sderot and the western Negev including all kindergartens, daycare centers and classrooms in elementary schools. In addition, the Welfare Ministry will act individually to assist families based on criteria to be determined.