The Shas party was offered a quarter billion shekels for increased child allowances in exchange for supporting Avishay Braverman's appointment to chair the Knesset Finance Committee. The offer was conveyed by representatives of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Shas faction chairman Eli Yishai, who is also the minister of industry and trade.
Yishai rejected the offer on the grounds that Shas insists on an addition of NIS 30 to NIS 35 per child. The party argues that the extra money would lift half a million children in Israel above the poverty line.
Braverman, a member of the Labor Party, is an economist by profession. Shas members on the Knesset House Committee had opposed his appointment to the committee, but ultimately party members simply skipped the vote Monday.
Shas MK Yitzhak Vaknin spoke in praise of Braverman ahead of the vote, but left the room before the poll began. Yaakov Margi, another Shas member, stayed in the room but did not participate.
Last night the coalition leaned toward Shas, raising a bill on exempting small yeshivas from core-curriculum items such as English, mathematics and science.
The vote into law had been scheduled for Monday, but Shas wanted it to take place last night: Few MKs were present, which would make it easier to push the bill through.
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