JERUSALEM, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Following decades of administrative neglect, the Israeli government announced on Thursday the allocation of 355 million shekels (90 million U.S. dollars) to repair collapsing sewer and water treatment infrastructures in Arab towns nationwide.
Israeli Energy and Water Resources Minister, Uzi Landau, said his ministry had reached an agreement with the Treasury to increase budgets and grants for new sewer systems and waste treatment plants, according to the Ha'aretz daily.
In recent years, a severe lack of funding caused serious water pollution in streams and reservoirs in northern Israel, according to environmental group, Zalul, which pointed to some 400 sewer breakdowns every year, resulting in the pollution of 71 streams.
The group warned that without ongoing government investment, the infrastructure systems will collapse once more, and offered to create a fund that would be used to repair sewage problems in poor cities, mainly in Arab towns.
The fund, according to Zalul's plan, will be financed from the budget of several government ministries, and would maintain a list of contractors who would be obliged to fix and perform maintenance on pipes and pumping stations.
The government made a number of public gestures recently towards the country's Arab community, whose 1.5 million residents make up 20 percent of the population.
Official governmental publications call for Arabs to take part in tenders for state positions, and call on Arab youth to join National Service programs along with other young Israelis.
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