Politica: Media Mum on Shinui Blackmail
by E. Rauchberger
Shinui recently made off with NIS 200 million for matters
close to the hearts of the party and its voters--culture,
universities, students, etc.--but it did not make headlines.
An outcry should be raised over this twin scandal: wringing
the State coffers dry and virtual silence on the part of the
Israeli media, which has demonstrated once again where its
The Finance Minister announced one-and-a-half weeks ago that
he was withdrawing the budget from the Finance Committee due
to the excessive demands of the coalition parties, which came
to over one billion shekels. Had the coalition parties been
called Shas or United Torah Jewry, Netanyahu's move would
have led to screaming front-page headlines.
At the beginning of last week Shinui and the Finance Ministry
held such fierce negotiations that Sharon had to step into
the picture. Shinui clung stubbornly to its demands.
The daily newspapers did not report the negotiations at all.
Not a single story. The media overlooked the fact that by
delaying the budget approval process Shinui was causing the
State to enter the 2004 fiscal year without an approved
budget, along with the fact it was dipping its hands into the
public coffers and draining hundreds of millions of shekels
at the expense of the weaker sectors of society, at a time
when everything is under pressure.
Less than two months ago the Knesset Finance Committee
approved the transfer of NIS 22 million for the yeshivas,
money the yeshivas gave back to the Finance Ministry due to
overpayments, and the Finance Ministry agreed to add the sum
to the general yeshiva budget. Even though it was not really
new money, the papers came out with large headlines saying
the yeshivas were receiving tens of millions of shekels at a
time of budget cuts.