Estimates: The cost of forming the coalition so far amounts to around NIS 20 billion a year

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by Ifi Reporter Category:Politics Jun 8, 2021

Ahead of the formation of a new government in Israel, Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin announced that Yair Lapid had managed to form a government with Naftali Bennett, but so far has not determined when the vote will take place to approve the formation of a new government. Meanwhile, the coalition agreements between the parties are revealed.
The cost of forming a new government, as reflected in the clauses of the coalition agreements published so far, is estimated at around NIS 20 billion a year for the state budget. The full agreements will only be revealed when they are laid on the Knesset table after they are signed - 72 to 24 hours before the date of the swearing-in of the government - and it may turn out that they include clauses that increase this cost. Finding budgetary sources for the implementation of the summaries will be assigned, as a start, to the budget department in the Ministry of Finance, which was a partner in the coalition negotiations.

The coalition agreement between Tikva Hadash and Yesh Atid includes an additional budget of hundreds of millions of shekels to the Ministry of Education's budget, which will be transferred mainly for the purpose of budgeting programs to reduce gaps - especially among peripheral students - and to improve early childhood and transfer it from the Ministry of Welfare to the Ministry of Education. In addition, the agreement includes a permanent solution to the issue of great freedom as well as the establishment of a university in the Galilee.
As part of the coalition agreements, the obligation of core studies in the ultra-Orthodox schools and the possibility of revoking their budget will apply. The section is not clear because even today there is a core education obligation and even the possibility of imposing budgetary sanctions on schools. This is a broader problem, because even if the core education obligation is enforced - it will be difficult to implement: in the ultra-Orthodox schools there are not enough teachers trained by the Ministry of Education to teach the core subjects, there are no textbooks in these subjects, no supervisors, no information on the ultra-Orthodox students' achievements. Core, and there are no curricula in these subjects.
According to the agreement, after a struggle of more than a decade, the responsibility for early childhood education (ages 0-3) will be transferred from the Ministry of Welfare to the Ministry of Education. It was agreed between the party leaders that the transfer of responsibility for the issue to the Ministry of Education will be done as soon as possible after the formation of the government.
This is a promise made three times by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and has not been implemented for years. In 2016, Netanyahu transferred the responsibility for early childhood from the Ministry of Economy to the Ministry of Welfare as part of an agreement between him and former Minister of Welfare Haim Katz.
The transfer of responsibility for early childhood to the Ministry of Education will enable educational continuity for all age groups, and will also place the Ministry of Education's supervision and construction system available to early childhood dormitories. In addition, these dormitories will have to gradually adapt to the standard of the Ministry of Education - which is more rigid in terms of training staff and educational programs.
In the past, the Ministry of Education demanded a budget increase of billions of shekels to transfer responsibility for the issue to him, but between New Hope and Yesh Atid, an additional budget of NIS 200 million was agreed, as a first step in a multi-year program to improve early childhood education. The budget will be transferred for the purpose of increasing the number of supervisors of early childhood dormitories, improving training and gradually improving the quality of childcare in dormitories.
In addition, between Tikva Hadash and Yesh Atid, it was agreed to transfer a budget of NIS 300 million for the purpose of reducing gaps. The budget increase will be transferred to reinforcement and enrichment projects for students in disadvantaged schools, as part of a new program to reduce disparities. Today, the gaps between student achievement in Israel are the highest in the developed world.
In addition, according to the coalition agreement, the issue of subsidized summer camps (schools of great freedom) will be resolved, and a permanent solution will be found in the budget of the Ministry of Education. Today, the camps are not regularly budgeted, and every year the Ministry of Education tries to find a budget for them - which causes a change in their level and how they are operated each year. For example, the length of the summer camps that will be run this summer is two and a half weeks shorter than those that took place at the end of the previous school year, and their budget is twice as low.
The agreement also includes a commitment to establish a new university in the Galilee. Apparently, this is a plan to convert Tel Hai College in the Galilee to a university, or a plan that will include the conversion and merging of several colleges into a university that will operate on several campuses. This is after the idea of ​​converting the University of Haifa to the University of Haifa and the Galilee fell out of the chapter. This section has not yet been budgeted, and according to the agreement, the Ministry of Education and the MLAG will begin to formulate the plan for the establishment of the new university after the formation of the government.
As part of the agreements published so far, it has been decided to increase the income supplement for senior citizens. Income supplement for a senior citizen is given in a targeted manner to adults with low incomes and without a significant pension. This is a group of about 200,000 people. The section speaks of an increase of hundreds of shekels in the benefit that will be distributed to those entitled (today NIS 3,237 per month and according to the proposal, the benefit will be increased to 3,710 or 3,942). The estimated cost: about NIS 1.5 billion a year.
Change in the mechanism for offsetting benefits. For people who have reached retirement age (and have not yet turned 70) and receive a salary of more than NIS 6,000, the old-age pension is deducted. There is a future that requires applying the offset from much higher wage levels. An agreement has now been reached with the budget department in the Ministry of Finance to increase the start of the offset starting from the level of the average wage in the economy, which currently stands at NIS 10,551. The estimated cost: about NIS 300 million in the first year.

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