News in Brief

IDF reinforces Golan border, fearing Syrian terror attack

The Israel Defense Forces is reinforcing its defensive positions along the Syrian border on the Golan Heights. The IDF fears that terror organizations will take advantage of events in Syria taking place on the Golan and will attempt to attack Israeli communities near the border. The steps include strengthening fences and barriers at the border. In addition, the IDF has dug a wide trench to prevent vehicles from approaching the towns. The various areas that have been identified as sensitive fall within the sector of the IDF's 36th Division. The Northern Command's biggest fear is of a terror attack that penetrates inside Israel in which terrorists strike civilians on the Golan.The operations branch has also prepared plans to deal with a potential influx of refugees fleeing from Syria, who may very well ask for asylum in Israel. (Gili Cohen)

New Tel Aviv school would be overcrowded

Tel Aviv municipality is promoting a plan for a new elementary school that will be much more crowded than Education Ministry guidelines. The school, on Antigonus Street in the northern part of the city, will be built on a plot that currently hosts several nursery schools and a parking lot. Based on the tender published by the city, the school will have 18 classrooms on a 2.9-dunam (0.7-acre ) plot. Rules approved by the cabinet in January 2011 require half a dunam per classroom, said two city council members who object to the school plans. In addition, the city has two nearby schools that are used for other purposes, and they should first be returned to their original use, they said. The city said it is working in full cooperation with the Education Ministry. (Ilan Lior)

Brush fire spooks Haifa residents

A massive brush fire broke out in an abandoned field near Haifa's Dori Street yesterday afternoon, but caused no casualties aside from a woman treated for smoke inhalation. Several buildings on Solomon Street were damaged. The fire, which raged over some 40 dunams, was put out after about two hours due to the efforts of four tanker planes and 20 firefighting crews. The Haifa fire department said the blaze spread rapidly because the entire hillside was covered in weeds and trash. Area residents said they have been urging the municipality for some time to cut down the growth in the fields. (Revital Hovel)