Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Av 5766 - August 23, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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











MK Rabbi Gafni Protests Budget Cuts in All Areas Related to Religious Affairs

By Eliezer Rauchberger

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni spoke out against the distribution of various budget cuts during a Knesset Finance Committee, saying "the whole cut is a blow to the weak."

The committee meeting was convened to approve NIS 1.8 billion ($410 million) in budget cuts at various ministries in order to increase the defense budget. Some MKs wanted to summon the Defense Minister and Finance Minister and even their respective directors to receive explanations on the cuts before voting.

MK Gafni claimed that not a single paragraph that touches on religious issues was not slashed far beyond the budgets for parallel issues unrelated to religion. Later he cited numerous examples to prove religious affairs were deliberately and callously slashed.

The religious councils budget, for instance, was cut by NIS 15 million ($3.4 million), while the local councils were not cut but granted an additional NIS 100 million ($23 million) in funding. The Rabbinate botei din lost NIS 1.2 million of their NIS 105 million in funding (1.1 percent) while the secular courts lost NIS 4 million of their NIS 919- million budget (0.4 percent).

Both the primary schools in the general education system and the chareidi system had the same NIS 5 million cut, but the budget for the former is almost five times the budget allotted for chareidi schools.

The NIS 7 billion budgeted for higher education was cut by NIS 40 million (0.6 percent) while the NIS 500 million budgeted for yeshivas was reduced by NIS 28 million (5.6 percent).

Rabbi Gafni said these examples demonstrate that all religious issues were subject to attack by the Finance Ministry and the entire government. "And I can't understand where the Shas ministers were? How could they pass such a cut in the government?" he demanded.

"Were this an across-the-board cut as claimed, why this discrimination? And how could they allow the execution of such a large cut in religious services budgets? Where was Minister Yitzchak Cohen? Now all of the recovery programs planned for the religious councils will be harmed and again there will be difficulties paying the workers."


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