Knesset to hold meeting on aid package for South, budget cuts

Labor gathered signatures to hold special parley during summer recess on "socioeconomic situation," Lapid's zero VAT plan and violence among Israeli Arabs.

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September 1, 2014 13:12
1 minute read.
Knesset

Knesset. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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The Knesset is set to hold its first plenum meeting of the summer recess on Thursday.

On Monday, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein approved the petition submitted Sunday by the Labor faction to hold a special meeting even though the Knesset went on recess in early August and will not officially reopen until late October.

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Labor gathered the 25 signatures necessary to call such a meeting, writing in its request that “a plan is needed to rehabilitate the socioeconomic situation in the South, including Ashkelon, Ashdod and Beersheba.”

The government aid package for the South, approved Sunday, applies only to small towns near the Gaza border, but Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed that funding for the larger southern cities will be voted in later in the month.

Another topic to be discussed is the budget cuts to all government ministries, except for Defense, which Labor wrote “will harm social services instead of strengthening them.”

MK Stav Shaffir (Labor) said “residents of the South need to know they have strong support to turn home and go back to their routine, and at the moment the outlines that the Finance Ministry is suggesting simply are not sufficient.”

According to Shaffir, the program authorized on Sunday is a spin, because it came at the same time as budget cuts to social services, which will harm residents of the South.

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“When thousands of children are going back to school today while suffering from panic attacks and parents are afraid to send them to school, we cannot cut the education and welfare budgets,” the Labor MK added. “That is tuning our back on the home front.”

MKs are also expected to debate Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s 0% VAT on real estate plan, as well as to discuss “the wave of violence and murders in the Triangle,” an area of Arab towns, including Umm el-Fahm, Taiba and Kafr Kasim.

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