Israeli billionaire to the rescue as more rockets hit south

Thursday, December 13, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Israeli-Russian billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak on Thursday announced that he would once again step in and aid the residents of the rocket-battered southern town of Sderot where the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had failed them.

Gaydamak was quoted by Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper as saying he will spend $23 million to fortify the 600 Sderot homes most often threatened by Palestinian rockets and mortar shells.

Gaydamak has already financed the building of 40 community bomb shelters in the town. Earlier this year, the wealthy industrialist paid for the residents of Sderot to have a vacation in the resort town Eilat.

News of Gaydamak's latest gesture came as three more rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists operating out of nearby northern Gaza slammed into Sderot.

The Olmert government has harshly criticized Gaydamak for fueling what it insists is an over-exaggeration of the situation faced by the Sderot's residents. On Tuesday the government rebuked a Supreme Court petition by Sderot residents insisting that the government fortify their homes if it is not going to militarily eliminate threat of Palestinian artillery attacks.

Analysts believe Olmert is wary of admitting the severity of the situation in southern Israel for fear of further exposing the folly of the 2005 Gaza withdrawal that he so vigorously helped to implement.

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