"Controversial Budget Cuts Spark Outrage as Finance Committee Allocates NIS 478 Million to Ultra-Orthodox Sector and Settlement Education"

Posted on Sep 12, 2023 by Ifi Reporter

Finance Committee has given the green light to significant budget cuts affecting various ministries to facilitate a transfer of NIS 478 million towards the ultra-Orthodox sector and settlement education. This decision, alongside additional funding for summer vacation camps, education in East Jerusalem, support for youth movements, and various education-related expenses, has elicited strong criticism from opposition members of the Knesset.

The NIS 478 million allocation for the ultra-Orthodox sector and settlement education was not originally part of the state budget. However, coalition agreements, resulting in a thicker portfolio of commitments, forced the Ministry of Finance to implement these budget cuts a mere 100 days after the biennial state budget was initially approved at the end of May this year. Officials within the finance department have even hinted that further cuts may be necessary before the budget year concludes.

These approved cuts, which have drawn particular ire, include reductions in funds designated for disadvantaged sections of society in need of assistance. Among the key adjustments, NIS 123 million has been diverted to independent education within the Torah Judaism community, NIS 115 million to Torah education for Shas, NIS 96 million to the settlement education administration, NIS 12 million for the promotion of Jewish culture, including affiliated associations with ultra-Orthodox parties, and a substantial sum of NIS 132 million for Torah institutions catering to Torah students and priests.

This budget reallocation has ignited a fierce debate, with critics decrying the impact on vulnerable sectors while supporters argue that it fulfills vital coalition agreements. As the fiscal year progresses, the potential for further cuts looms, adding to the ongoing controversy surrounding the government's financial decisions.


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