Finance minister promises Peretz he will find funds for program, despite ongoing rumor about Treasury’s objections to plan.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid promised Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz on Sunday morning that he would find funds for an environmental protection civil service program, despite ongoing rumors about the Treasury’s objections to such a plan, the Environmental Protection Ministry said.

In order to put the plans for the program into practice, which will involve enlisting about 500 minority teens into a future civil service branch for environmental protection, the two ministers will soon conduct a formal meeting on the subject, the ministry said.

The brainchild of Peretz, the program aims to bring in ultra-Orthodox and Arab Israelis of military enlistment age to perform civil service under the umbrella of the Environmental Protection Ministry.

Peretz, who is a member of the Ministerial Committee for Equal Sharing of the Burden, instructed his office to prepare an initial plan for the project at the end of April.

He stressed that not only will this project “help the environment,” but it will “also give those who serve the chance to find a rewarding job that will benefit local communities.”

The civil servants likely will be assigned to units in the marine and coastal division, departments overseeing pesticide activity and a variety of other responsibilities to help integrate them into working in Israeli society, the minister said.