(photo credit: REUTERS/Uriel Sinai/Pool )
Secular and religious MKs got into a heated argument over funding of the new
Jewish Identity Administration in the Knesset Finance Committee
MK Stav Shaffir (Labor) took issue with the recently established
Jewish Identity Administration’s existence, which the committee voted to give an
additional budget of NIS 14 million.
“What is Jewish identity? Who
defines it?” Shaffir asked. “They’re trying to promote a very specific agenda
using public funds.”
The Jewish Identity Administration is part of the
Religious Services Ministry; its foundation is an article in Bayit Yehudi’s
coalition agreement with Likud Beytenu.
The administration is meant to
work with populations of all religious levels to encourage “experiential
encounters with the Torah and Jewish sources” and focuses on youth.
the beginning of the week Lapid opposed a bill to give paternity leave [because
of costs], and now we’re talking about NIS 14 million for the Jewish Identity
Administration that only [Religious Affairs Minister] Naftali Bennett
understands what it is,” Shaffir added.
MK Zvulun Kalfa (Bayit Yehudi)
retorted that “the government has a mandate to promote things it believes in.
Jews have rights in this country, and it’s not bad to strengthen Jewish
“The administration’s budget expresses the current
government’s policy, just like previous governments’ decisions that I didn’t
like were authorized,” Finance Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky told
The committee authorized the budget for the Jewish Identity
Later Tuesday, Shaffir wrote on Facebook: “Bennett’s
rabbis think that you, I, all of us aren’t Jewish enough and they need to teach
us how to be Jewish in their way only, including