Critical Factories Forced to Soldier on in South

A new $70 million sugar refinery is close to going online at the Sugat plant in Kiryat Gat, located within a 30-kilometer radius from the Gaza Strip. Foreign experts, who must be on site to supervise, have all promised to return next week from their Christmas-New Year's vacations, but company officials have decided to put them up at a hotel in Tel Aviv rather than returning to Ashkelon.

"They all confirmed their return but it's obvious that if the situation worsens they might decide not to come," Sugat CEO David Franklin said. The sole foreign expert who remained in Israel this week moved to Tel Aviv when the war began.

"He came with us into the bomb shelter yesterday and said we're giving him an experience he never expected and would rather not repeat," Franklin said.

Sugat is classified as a critical facility that must remain open even if other factories in the area are ordered to close for security reason. In recent months the company has built, with no government assistance, five reinforced rooms for its workers.

"It's illogical for factories to have to spend their own money without any government support or interest," Franklin said. Despite the rockets, all company employees reported to work this week.

Amit Industries, in Ashdod, is also running as usual. The company makes special batteries for products ranging from robots and drone aircraft used by the army in the current operation to medical equipment that is sold abroad.