Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter left the first meeting of the Ministerial Committee for Combating Violence satisfied Monday after the committee approved two of his ministry's proposals - one for implementing a groundbreaking project to reduce violence and the other for establishing a committee to address the growing phenomenon of sports hooliganism.
The committee approved the trial stage of the "City Without Violence" project, which, following the committee's okay, will operate in 10 local authorities nationwide beginning in 2007. The project, which has already been allotted a NIS 50 million budget, is designed to operate within the framework of local and regional authorities in order to establish non-violent norms of behavior.
The decision to implement the program came following a two-year pilot run of the program in Eilat, during which, Dichter said in his report, there was "a significant decline in the number of incidents of violence and crime" in the city.
The first 10 cities in which the program will operate are Tiberias, Upper Nazareth, Acre, Hadera, Netanya, Rahat, Ma'aleh Adumim, Ashkelon, Ramle and Bat Yam. Twenty-three cities applied to participate, and the 10 were ultimately selected on criteria that included need, existence of a police station within the local authority, a variety of locations including peripheral areas, representation of at least one Arab-sector city, and at least one Arab-Jewish mixed city, and with preferential status granted to authorities in the north and surrounding the Gaza Strip.
The project will begin to operate in those 10 cities on the first day of 2007, and will center on cooperation between the police, local government, education authorities, welfare authorities and other government representatives. The ministerial committee said that the program's steering committee will report back on progress made every six months. If, after two years, the program is determined to be successful in the 10 cities, then it will be implemented in the rest of the regional authorities nationwide.
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