Finance C'ttee approves NIS 177m for settlements

Much of the money will go to settlements in the West Bank and Golan Heights.

The Knesset Finance Committee today approved NIS 177.2 million for the World Zionist Organization Settlement Division at the Prime Minister's Office, out of NIS 703.3 million of committee surpluses that were transferred from the 2013 fiscal year to the 2014 fiscal year. Three Yesh Atid MKs on the committee voted in favor of the transfer.

The transfer includes NIS 29 million to complete the handling of evacuees from Gush Katif in Gaza, NIS 188.3 million for the Prime Minister's Office, NIS 20.5 million for the Central Bureau of Statistics, NIS 3.5 million for settlement of the Bedouin in the Negev, NIS 4 million for the inter-ministerial committee on earthquakes, NIS 4.1 million for the Arab Sector Economic Development Authority, NIS 8.5 million for the State Archives, and NIS 12 million for commemorative organizations.

The NIS 177.2 million allocated for rural development includes NIS 24 million for the Negev, NIS 22.5 million for the Galilee and the Golan Heights, NIS 64.4 million for the Central District, including the Jordan Valley (including NIS 26 million for the evacuation of Ulpana), NIS 8.5 million for the South and Mount Hebron District, NIS 14 million for rebuilding infrastructures in rural communities throughout the country, NIS 2.5 million for student villages, NIS 3 million for evacuees from Gush Katif, and NIS 1.5 million for immigration absorption by rural communities.

Finance Committee chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi) said, "We are talking about committed surpluses, which were already approved by the committee last year for the 2013 budget, so there is no reason to reopen the debate about them. The ministries committed to multiyear projects, used up the initial budget, and are now due to continue the projects."

Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee member MK Merav Michaeli (Labor) said, "Once again, Yesh Atid has betrayed the middle class. It is now possible to transfer NIS 177 million to the settlements through a body known as the 'Settlements Division', which is not transparent to the public. Yesh Atid is a party to the release of prisoners in exchange for building in the settlements. It is a partner in the destruction of chances of an agreement with the Palestinians, and it is now transferring more money to the territories instead of building homes inside the State of Israel. Yesh Atid is handing over [Minister of the Economy Naftali] Bennett and [Minister of Housing and Construction Uri] Ariel the middle class on a silver platter."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on March 30, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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