IDF bases' sewage connection still on hold

Cabinet decision on hooking up the remaining 150 IDF bases to the sewage system nixed due to payment schedule.

April 21, 2010 07:12
2 minute read.
Beach pollution

Beach pollution 311. (photo credit: .)

The decision to connect the last 150 IDF bases to sewage systems was all set to come to the cabinet for approval on Sunday. The experts were lined up; the deal was seemingly done.

There was just one problem: The vote on the decision had been removed from the agenda at the last moment at the request of the Defense Ministry.

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The goal of the decision was not at issue; the ministry was quick to point out to The Jerusalem Post Monday that it was very much in favor of hooking up the bases, and in fact had been doing that on its own for a while already. The problem was who would pay for it.

The original decision, crafted in February, called for the Defense Ministry to find the NIS 400 million needed to complete the job in its own budget. However, the ministry vehemently objected and pushed for another option.

In the intervening months, the Environmental Protection Ministry and the Defense Ministry had seemingly hammered out a deal. The latter would put up NIS 50m. a year, and the former would put up NIS 50m. per year for five years – according to the Defense Ministry.

According to the text of the proposed decision, however, the Environmental Protection Ministry was to put up, in the form of a loan, NIS 30m. a year for five years. The Defense Ministry claimed the Environmental Protection Ministry had thereby reneged on its end of the deal by not offering the full amount.

The Environmental Protection Ministry claimed the Defense Ministry had gotten cold feet at the last minute and was just making excuses not to fund the project out of its own budget.

The Finance Ministry did not respond to a request for more details about the agreement by press time.

Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry contends that it will continue to connect the IDF’s bases to sewage systems, even without the decision – albeit at a much slower pace.

Both the national infrastructures minister and the environmental protection minister blasted the Defense Ministry for its stance.

“I am sorry to see that the defense establishment has not yet internalized that the citizens’ drinking water is no less important than buying one more tank or one more plane. What is demanded of local authority heads and factory managers, the state must demand of itself – preventing sewage from contaminating the water sources,” Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement.

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