Owner of Factory Destroyed by Gaza Rockets Determined to Reopen

Expects building will take three months to repair, intends to retain 30-strong local workforce

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Firefighters eventually extinguished the fire that engulfed the Denber paint factory hit by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on June 28, 2014 at an industrial zone in the southern city of Sderot. Credit: AFP

Baruch Kogan, owner of the Denber paint factory in Sderot that was set ablaze by rocket fire from Gaza on Saturday, has been in contact with property tax officials in an attempt to reopen the factory, which employs 30 Sderot residents. According to Kogan, 10 million shekels ($2.9 million) in damage was done to the structure, “including contents and structural damage, in addition to three months’ salary for the 30 works, because that’s how long it will take to repair the damage.”

Two rockets hit the factory, igniting a fireball that gutted the building. Three employees were lightly injured.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett visited the scene on Sunday, and made declarations about expected attacks on those responsible for the rocket fire. Kogan said that Bennett promised no help. “The minister spoke generally about the political situation, but unfortunately didn’t talk about helping.”

Economy Ministry Deputy Director General Yinon Elroy said that Bennett will return to Sderot with other officials from the ministry and determine how to provide support. According to Elroy, Economy Ministry officials have been in touch with the mayor of Sderot about how to provide support for dealing with rocket fire, including additional fortified shelters.

“We’re guiding the business owners along with the municipality in order to get the situation back to normal as soon as possible, including reconnecting factories to utilities and dealing with other issues,” said Elroy.

According to Kogan, “we were told by the property tax people that they would only pay for seven days. It’s strange – I didn’t expect this kind of reaction. I talk to them, they tell me how it’s going to be okay, and then slowly they start to mumble how little they’re going to pay.”

When asked if the factory was sufficiently fortified, Kogan said “the factory was built in accordance with all guidelines from the Home Front Command, and received all the proper permits. They never talked to me about fortification. There were visits from the Home Front Command, and we did everything we were told.”

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