The Knesset Finance Committee approved NIS 1.5 billion more
for Disengagement expenses, bringing the total budget to NIS
3.5 billion. Around 80 percent of the additional funds will
be for compensation to the evacuees. About NIS 800 million
will go to individual claimants and NIS 300 million will go
to businesses. The rest of the funds will for the military to
cover costs it incurred during the pullout and other related
expenses including those of the Defense, Agriculture and
Previously NIS 900 million had been set aside as compensation
for the evacuated settlers. This proved enough to compensate
only about half of those evacuated. More money is needed to
compensate the rest and also to house 920 families still
living in hotels until better arrangements can be made.
Approximately half of the original NIS 2b. allocated for the
Disengagement was used by the military and police forces. The
IDF received NIS 600 million and the police NIS 400m. Nearly
NIS 900m. was given to settlers who applied for compensation.
The rest, however, has not yet been accounted for.
More than NIS 100m. of the original budget was "missing,"
according to Zvi Rosen, a spokesman for the Finance
Committee. "We know approximately where that original money
was spent, but we do not have exact figures," said Rosen. "We
are speaking of billions of shekels here. Millions tend to
get lost among billions."
A Finance Ministry spokesman said that the additional funds
were necessary due to the increase in compensation demands
filed by settlers. Some is due to the fact that the
government has decided to compensate all of the settlers,
even those who did not leave voluntarily. Originally it said
that settlers who did not leave in advance would get only 70
percent of the compensation. When things went fairly
smoothly, the government decided to give everyone full
Finance Committee chair MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman said he plans
to hold a separate meeting in which ministerial
representatives will provide details on the settlers'
compensation. At that special meeting, government officials
who were involved in disengagement, including representatives
from the Prime Minister's Office, Sela, the Housing Ministry
and the IDF, will be expected to present detailed figures
explaining how money was spent so far.
Disengagement Administration head Yonatan Bassi said that the
government had pledged to uphold the standard of living
enjoyed by the settlers before their relocation.
"We promised the Gaza evacuees that we would maintain the
lifestyles to which they were accustomed. Buying them seaside
villas in Bat Yam is out of the question, so the next best
thing is buying them half a dunam in Ashkelon," Bassi said.
The government has spent hundreds of millions of shekels
buying expensive real estate.
"We have two settlements, . . . [who] have yet to decide.
Because they haven't made up their minds, we have no option
but to prepare more than one site for each settler," Bassi
The Jerusalem Post reported that many settlers say
they had yet to receive any compensation money from the
"I don't know about them allocating any more money, but I
still haven't seen a cent of my compensation money," said
Anita Tucker, a former resident of Netzer Hazani told the
Post. "We have not even gotten the first $50,000 that
we were supposed to get when we walked off the bus that
Tucker, who admitted that she had only recently filled out
her compensation forms, said her funds were being delayed
because she could not prove that she had lived in Netzer
Hazani for 29 years.
"They want records to prove I lived there 29 years," she
said. "But apparently I don't have the type of records they
want." Tucker was asked to provide electricity records as
proof, but she could only prove 27 years of residency in this
manner because for the first two years she lived there a
generator powered her home. Sela also asked her for phone
records, but Tucker said she did not have a phone for the
first seven years.
"I told them to look in the papers, that there was a picture
of me with Yitzhak Rabin when I first moved there, but they
didn't like that answer," she said.