On the last day of the 2005 fiscal year Jewish culture
organizations received 60 percent of the funding earmarked
for them in the 2005 budget. The prolonged delay in the
transfer of funding was the result of an ongoing debate
between the Education Ministry and Attorney Amnon de Hartog,
head of the Support Department at the Justice Ministry.
The state budget called for over NIS 50 million, along with
another NIS 6 million from the coalition agreement with UTJ.
The remainder of the funding will be paid in 2006 after the
final criteria for the transfer of funding to Jewish cultural
organizations is formulated.
Two other areas of the budget were left without funding at
the end of the fiscal year: talmudei Torah and busing
to and from Chinuch Atzmai schools. Major efforts are
underway to solve the latter issue within the next few days
to save the busing system from total collapse. Last week
Chinuch Atzmai principals gathered for an urgent meeting at
which they warned the schools could collapse without funding
Meanwhile budget funds for talmudei Torah are being
withheld due to a directive by Attorney Amnon de Hartog of
the Justice Ministry. On Sunday PM Ariel Sharon held a large
meeting to try to solve the problem of funding for the
talmudei Torah and school buses.
The majority of the NIS 290 promised to UTJ in last year's
budget agreements was transferred to its designated
purposes— kindergartens, seminaries, dormitories and
some of the Chinuch Atzmai busing.
Funding for the yeshivas and kollelim, a total of NIS
140 million, was also transferred in full, including tens of
millions of additional shekels defined as differentials and
surpluses based on UTJ's agreement with the Likud one year
ago that all of the differences and surpluses of the yeshivas
would be transferred to all of the yeshivas.