The Knesset Finance Committee is expected to revisit the issue of allocating NIS
80.5 million to local and regional councils of West Bank settlements on Tuesday,
with an eye to approving the transfer of funds.
A political fight between
two coalition parties, Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid, delayed the transfer when the
issue was raised last Tuesday.
When it appeared that Yesh Atid, together
with Meretz party leader MK Zehava Gal- On, would attempt to block the transfer,
committee chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) opted not to bring the
matter to a vote.
The tensions between parties began last week when Bayit
Yehudi vetoed a Yesh Atid bill extending a tax break – that encourages women to
return to the workplace after maternity leave – to gay parents, because its
wording would have set a legal precedent of recognizing gay
Bayit Yehudi offered Yesh Atid an alternative text for the
bill that would give the tax benefits to gay parents without changing the status
quo on gay marriage, but Yesh Atid rejected it.
Following the veto, a
senior Yesh Atid source promised to “make Bayit Yehudi pay in the Finance
Committee,” saying the party would block funds to settlements.
But in the
last couple of days, the two parties have looked to find an impasse to the
tensions between them, which otherwise could lead to a coalition
Bayit Yehudi MK Orit Struck said that there must not be a
long-term situation in which two coalition partners are at odds over financial
Technically speaking, the money for the West Bank settlements
would go to the World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Division, which would
then transfer it to regional councils.
Yigal Delmonti of the Council of
Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip said that the funds
would be transferred through the WZO to the settlements for the normative
services afforded citizens anywhere else in the country.
Struck said that
some of the funds would be used to help in the absorption of Bnei Menashe
residents in the Kiryat Arba settlement.
But Gal-On claimed on her
Facebook page that the funds would be used for new homes for settlers.