Tension Brews Over Allocation of Funds for Haredi Education
Finance Committee Approves Funding amid Controversy
The Finance Committee led by MK Moshe Gafni recently convened to discuss budgetary adjustments in Israel. Substantial funds were approved for Orthodox Jewish institutions, Haredi culture, and a variety of educational programs. However, the allocation of these funds, amounting to roughly 155 million NIS, has ignited criticism and controversy.
Coalition Funds or Basic Budget?
During the committee discussion, Gafni expressed his discontent that the funds being transferred now are coalition money and not part of the basic budget. He directed his criticism towards the Treasury representative, voicing his preference for these funds to be included in the basic budget rather than treated as coalition funds. MK Pindrus echoed these sentiments, insisting that the funds should be part of the basic budget and not disbursed as coalition money.
Defending the Haredi Cause
In response to criticism from opposition members, MK Yinon Azulay from SHAS stated that he was not ashamed of being Haredi. He defended the allocation of funds to Haredi education and other programs, highlighting the importance of these institutions in Israeli society.
Accusations of Misuse and Deception
Opposition members were far from silent during the discussion. MK Biliak, for instance, tweeted during the meeting, accusing the committee members of attempting to deceive the committee. He pointed out that at least 107 million NIS of the approved funds had no normative source as per government decisions. He asked the legal counsel to nullify the transfer.
Outrage Over Public Purse Disrespect
Adding to the chorus of opposing voices, MK Kariv accused the government and the coalition of disrespecting the public purse. He expressed his outrage over the transfer of hundreds of millions of shekels for sectarian purposes and religious indoctrination. He claimed that these money transfers are indicative of an attack on the liberal public in Israel.
After the budgets were approved, Gafni explained that the additional allocation for Haredi and seminar budgets is part of the coalition agreements. He expressed his hope that the completion of the legal process would lead to increased salaries for teachers in Haredi institutions and decreased tuition fees for parents in Haredi institutions and seminars.
The Ongoing Controversy
The meeting concluded with the approval of the transfer of millions of NIS to various Haredi and other educational programs. However, this decision has sparked controversy among members. Critics argue that these funds should be part of the basic budget rather than given as coalition funds, signaling an ongoing debate over the allocation of financial resources in Israel.
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