Israel Announces US$15.5 Million for Judea and Samaria, Opposition MKs Object

MK Bezalel Smotrich MK Bezalel Smotrich speaking during the ceremony Ceremony in Hebron Marking 50 Years of Israeli Control Over Judea and Samaria 25.4.16

Israel Announces US$15.5 Million for Judea and Samaria, Opposition MKs Object

Written by Jonathan Benedek/TPS on June 19, 2016

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday the allocation of approximately US$15.5 million for Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria in the face of criticism from several prominent opposition Members of Knesset.

“This entails the work of many ministries on behalf of the residents there and will, inter alia, strengthen security, assist small businesses, and encourage tourism” said Netanyahu.

Some US$3.9 million will come from the Interior Ministry, US$2.6 million from the Agriculture Ministry, US$3.1 million from the Health Ministry and US$1.55 million from the Welfare and Social Services Ministry. The rest of the funds will be provided by other ministries.

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MK Stav Shaffir (Zionist Union) argued that the proposal will harm Israel’s security and democratic character.

“The government is delusional in that instead of providing for the Negev and the Galilee and rebuilding the tourism that was hit because of the security situation, it volunteers to build a balcony for tourists, with a view of the settlement project that will harm Israel’s security and identity as Jewish and democratic,” she claimed.

Fellow Zionist Union MK Amir Peretz echoed Shaffir’s remarks, demanding that Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon reject the proposed additional funds for Judea and Samaria.

“The national unity government headed by Netanyahu, continues to spend tens of millions of shekels on political settlements, while the periphery of Israeli society and young couples are desperate for these budgets,” said Peretz.

“I call on Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to demand to remove this proposal from the government’s daily agenda and to remember that the government’s job is to also take care of populations that are not living in the settlements.”

Politicians affiliated with the communities of Judea and Samaria, however, welcomed the extra funding as necessary for the security of the residents in the face of an ongoing wave of terror.

“This is an important decision that reflects the government’s commitment to strengthening the settlement project and the settlers,” said MK Bezalel Smotrich of the Jewish Home party.

“The settlement project in Judea and Samaria has been on the front lines of the security threat for years, including in the current wave of terror. The strength and resilience of the settlers are a national interest of the first order and reflect on the whole of Israeli society.”


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