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Despite the littering and damage caused by visitors to Lake Kinneret over the Passover holiday, the Union of Kinneret Cities has decided to leave beaches open to the public on Independence Day next week.

The union will deploy more inspectors and law enforcement agents along the beaches under its control, and has launched public relations campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of preserving the Kinneret region.

Zvi Slutzky, director of the Kinneret Authority, said yesterday, "Even though we've stationed hundreds of dumpsters for public use and invested immense resources in raising awareness, the public's behavior during Passover proved that we can't expect too much, and must deal with criminals harshly."

Setting a precedent

A spokesman for the union said it had "decided to take a precedent-setting step and open the six beaches under its jurisdiction - Lavnun, Kursi, Halukim, Tzinbari, Berniki and Shittim - to restore public confidence in public administration of the beaches."

He said that as such, "We hurried before the holiday to prepare for visitors. Beach infrastructure has been improved, parking has been expanded, the PR campaign has been bolstered and more manpower deployed.

"Over the holiday more than 10,000 information kits were distributed to beachgoers explaining measures they can take to preserve the beach, and they were given garbage bags and ashtrays to prevent people from throwing their cigarette butts onto the sand or into the water."