Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

8 Sivan 5765 - June 15, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











MK Gafni Attacks Likud for Delays in Funding for Torah- Based Culture Organizations

By Eliezer Rauchberger

"Traitors. You destroyed the country. Where else in the country is there a situation in which money is not transferred because of criteria?" MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni demanded, lashing out at the Likud during a Knesset Finance Committee meeting over the prolonged delay in funding transfers for Torah-based culture organizations for the year 2005 by the Education Ministry, which is headed by Minister Livnat of the Likud Party.

When the meeting—held at the office of Amnon De Hartoch, the Justice Ministry's commissioner for support funding criteria— failed to produce results, a second meeting was scheduled for the next day. Rabbi Gafni noted that while some parts of the budget have been cut, in the case of funding for Torah-based culture organizations the absurdities and distortions cry up to Heaven since the money is available and the funding has been allocated, yet officials at various ministries delay the funding transfers. "One ministry is out of touch with the other and the distribution of the money does not take place," Rabbi Gafni roared at the Likud MKs during the committee meeting.

The 2005 budget for Torah culture came to NIS 56 million. Culture organizations filed a petition over the criteria for 2004, saying the Justice Ministry advisors have yet to approve new criteria. Education Ministry advisors also submitted objections to the new criteria and the two entities failed to reach an agreement.

Following the recent Finance Committee meetings Amnon De Hartoch met with the Education Ministry's legal advisor but the two failed to reach an agreement. De Hartoch also objected to transferring advances to the culture organizations based on the 2004 criteria, even if all of the organizations gave their consent, although in a previous meeting he seemed willing to accept such a proposal.

Cultural organizations are on the brink of collapse due to the funding delays. Employees have not been paid for months and regular activities are under severe strain.

This issue was raised in the Knesset plenum as well when MK Meshulam Nahari submitted a question protesting the reservations submitted by the Education Ministry's legal advisors regarding the new criteria, although the Education Minister supported finalizing criteria that would alleviate the burden on the culture organizations. He demanded Minister Livnat place a time restriction on the finalization process for the new criteria.

MK Chaim Oron (Meretz) also objected to the delays in funding transfers for Torah cultural organizations calling it "an example of the government's inability to function." He said the Finance Committee has been made aware of the major crisis the organizations face all because of two ministries at odds, a reference to the Education and Justice Ministries, which are both headed by Likud ministers. "It cannot be that the Knesset legislates a law and allocates certain amounts of money and for six months two government ministries have not been able to work out the question of how to transfer the money. This is what it all comes down to," said MK Oron.

Education Minister Livnat said intensive meetings have been held to finalize the new criteria in order to make the money available as soon as possible. Meanwhile she claimed the delay in finalizing the criteria and transferring the funds to the Torah-based cultural organizations is not the fault of the Education Ministry but the Justice Ministry, saying the matter does not depend on the minister but the legal advisors.

In response to another questions submitted by MK Nahari she said the funding for general cultural organizations has not been delayed and all of the problems there have been solved.

"This does not happen to the general culture [organizations]," charged MK Gafni. "There is much wrestling taking place in the government—a real disgrace—between the Justice Ministry and the Education Ministry. This could only happen in one sector and this is being repeated constantly."


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.