Israeli cabinet increases funding to minority communities

09:48, February 14, 2011      

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The Israeli cabinet on Sunday unanimously approved a comprehensive 680 million-shekel (around 185 million U.S. dollars) plan to aid 16 Druze and Circassian communities scattered across the northern part of the country.

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement that the multi-year plan is aimed to "strengthen the communities and reduce gaps between them and other populations in Israeli society" in education, housing and infrastructure, among other issues.

"We have a special relationship with the Druze and Circassian sectors, which contribute so much to the army, the State and its security," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the ministers at the weekly session.

Netanyahu went on to say that Israel is "aware of the problems in the sector and today we want to correct the plight that has built up over the years," according to a statement from the PMO.

More than 300 million shekels will be invested in regional development, including improving transportation infrastructures, helping establish in industrial zones, developing older neighborhoods, establishing and renovating religious institutions, building and renovating public structures.

The program also calls for spending 222 million shekels to build classrooms and kindergartens, and bolster formal and informal educational programs. (1 U.S. dollar=3.67 Israeli shekels)

Source: Xinhua
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