The Knesset Finance Committee approved budget transfers totaling NIS 1.7 billion on Wednesday, of which some NIS 900 million will be transferred to the Education Ministry.
According to the proposed transfers, out of the NIS 900m.
to be allocated to the Education Ministry, NIS 500m. will go toward additional teaching hours and NIS 175m. toward lengthening the school year for first and second graders. An additional NIS 110m. is to be allocated to nutritional security and for meals in schools, and another NIS 110m. toward increasing support for yeshivas that encourage enlistment in the army or national service.
Despite the formal approval of the committee, some of its members from the opposition arrived late to the meeting and missed the discussion and the vote. They expressed their grievances to committee chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi), who agreed to hold a repeat vote on the funds intended for the Education Ministry in the coming days.
“This is a budget that is very essential to the educational system,” Slomiansky said, adding that he hopes that budget transfer will receive final approval in the next few days.
The committee also approved the transfer of roughly NIS 250m. for research purposes, including NIS 86m. for scientific research and the space program, as well as another NIS 111m. for further space developments, including research activity in the field of applied science and infrastructure. An additional NIS 48m. is geared toward funding Israeli participation in CERN, the Center of European Nuclear Research, and NIS 19m. toward cyber research.
In addition to the Education Ministry funds, the committee approved budget transfers to the Energy and Water Ministry and the Environmental Protection Ministry.
Some NIS 480m. are to be allocated to development projects, including the rehabilitation of the Kishon River, the construction and development of the Ariel Sharon Park, the development of Nahal Park in Beersheba, the rehabilitation of the Dead Sea and the Carmel, as well as the development of oil substitutes and waste treatment in the Beduin sector.
An additional NIS 18m. was approved toward COGAT, the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, for the construction of infrastructure to reduce the duration of vehicle checks at the Allenby crossing.