Vehicles drive on Highway 443 past the West Bank Jewish settlement of Beit Horon.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
What was billed by the Prime Minister’s Office as a standard annual transfer of funds to Judea and Samaria before the end of the calendar year was approved by the security cabinet on Wednesday, angering leaders on the Left.
The ministers approved the transfer of NIS 40 million, which will go toward improving security and funding first-aid stations in Judea and Samaria. The allocation immediately raised eyebrows because it came a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with National Religious rabbis and asked for their support in his effort to fight what he believes is an effort to unseat him by painting him as corrupt.
“There is no connection between the decision and the meeting with the rabbis, and the issue was not raised in the meeting,” the Prime Minister’s Office said. “This allocation is made every year at the end of the budget year. Last year, a similar allocation passed on December 29
. The proposal was drafted over the past month and passed today to enable the Knesset Finance Committee to complete its passage this year.”
That answer did not satisfy the heads of Peace Now or Meretz.
“This is a corrupt decision,” Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On told The Jerusalem Post
. “I was shocked that they suddenly decide to give NIS 40m. to the settlements a day after Bibi met with the rabbis. What is the money for other than political bribery? What criteria is there for receiving this money, which is so desperately needed elsewhere?”
Peace Now released a statement accusing Netanyahu of buying the support of the rabbis.
“Supporting corruption has a price tag,” a Peace Now spokesman said. “Netanyahu is a weak prime minister who is easily extorted. He is willing to sell out Israel’s future to ensure his own political survival. The citizens of Israel will pay the price.”