National Budget Cut Stalled Due to Haredi Objection

NIS 314m. cut from Yeshiva budget brings bill to standstill; Haredi's demand maximum 1 percent cut.

The ministry of finance suggested on Tuesday to reduce this years' national budget cut by half, from NIS 2 billion to NIS 1 billion.

The first bill wasn?t approved due to the objection voiced by the Haredi members of Knesset who disapproved of the NIS 314 million cut from the annual Yeshiva budget.

The current bill only cut NIS 1.3 million from the Yeshiva budget.

Head of the Finance Committee Knesset member Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said that he refused to discuss the bill as part of the committee's agenda while it cut such a large sum from the Yeshiva budget.

Gafni is scheduled to discuss the new bill with the finance ministry and the prime minister's office over the next few days.

The committee has said that only if 1 percent is cut from the Yeshiva budget altogether, will they agree to discuss the cut of the remaining NIS 1 billion that is needed.

Udi Nosan, who is in charge of the budgets in the finance ministry, said that 2009 will ends with a 5 percent budget deficit, contrary to the forecast that the deficit would reach between 6 percent.

The first ten months of 2009 noted a 0.5 percent rise in government expenditure, as opposed to the same period in 2007 and 2008.

Nosan said that "the international financial crisis isn't over yet, and we are doing everything necessary to build the economy."