Israeli Lawmakers to Vote on Funding Requests, Including for Settlements

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MK Stav Shaffir during a Knesset Finance Committee debate on October 28, 2014.
MK Stav Shaffir during a Knesset Finance Committee debate on October 28, 2014.Credit: Emil Salman

The Knesset Finance Committee is to vote Tuesday on allocations for grants to young settlers in the West Bank.

The Finance Ministry is asking the committee to approve an outlay of 15 million shekels ($3.9 million) for the grants, which are “given to local authorities in accordance with a government decision,” according to explanatory remarks accompanying the Finance Ministry’s request.

The funding requests are part of a request for 470 million shekels for various purposes. It includes 50 million shekels to cover costs relating to the postponed dismantling of the Israel Broadcasting Authority and 41 million shekels to purchase protective equipment for the police in East Jerusalem.

The funding for the broadcasting authority is intended to keep public television and radio running until the new broadcasting corporation is launched, according to the explanatory remarks.

MK Stav Shaffir (Zionist Union) criticized the treasury’s request, saying that outlying parts of the country, like the Galilee and the Golan “need a few million to receive the health services they deserve by law but the government says it has no money.” Communities in the south, she added, are still waiting for funding promised them after the 2014 war in Gaza.

Shaffir said: “The urgent needs of the outlying areas do not interest the government, which continues to play with public money to benefit political and sectorial interests of the settler leadership, without any desire to fulfill its obligation to give the residents of the outlying areas the funding they deserve by law. The government is cutting social welfare budgets to strengthen the political core of Bennett and Bibi,” she said, referring to Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Shaffir added that the government was “concealing the figures from the MKs because it doesn’t have the courage to look the whole country in the eye and admit the cumulative damage it is doing to our future.”

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