Qassam Rocket Hits Western Negev; No One Hurt

Mayors from periphery, rocket-battered towns urge government not to cut defense budget.

A Qassam rocket was fired from the northern Gaza Strip into the western Negev on Sunday evening, causing no casualties or damage.

The rocket exploded in an open area in the Sha'ar Hanegev region.

Security forces combed the area to determine the exact site of the explosion.

Meanwhile, a group of local authority heads from the Qassam-weary area and from Israel's periphery sent a petition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz demanding that they refrain from cutting the defense budget.

"We call on you, captains of the national economy, to show national responsibility in formulating the state budget and to ensure that the defense budget is not cut," the petition said.

The petition, signed by the mayors of Sderot, Acre, Mitzpe Ramon, Beit She'an, Kiryat Shmona, Kiryat Yam and Misgav, went on to say that "for thousands residents of Israel's periphery and front lines, the defense budget is not just a slogan but a source of income and economic security for 500 factories that make billions of shekels every year."