Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman .
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman and Interior Minister Arye Deri emphasized the needs of for increased housing for the haredi sector at the Hamodia conference on Sunday night.
Speaking just before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Litzman spoke warmly about Netanyahu and thanked him for standing by promises made to the haredi parties in the coalition agreements.
He noted, however, that one of the stipulations of the agreements was that 10% of new housing construction be dedicated to the haredi community.
Netanyahu said, however, that a housing crisis existed throughout the country and that a global solution was needed, through which would also come a solution for haredim.
Speaking earlier, Deri said two new cities were being planned for the haredi community, one in the South and one in the North, claiming that the housing crisis was most severe in the haredi sector.
Deri also said he hoped the victory of Donald Trump in the US elections would allow for greater construction in the West Bank.
Also on Sunday, NIS 48 million was added to the annual budget for yeshiva students by the government, bringing the total to almost NIS 1.2 billion, the most ever.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon informed the haredi audience at a business conference of the haredi Hamodia newspaper of the most recent addition to the budget.
“We have returned to yeshiva students what was taken from them in 2013,” he said. “And how symbolic is it that just today the government returned this most recent NIS 48m. to the yeshiva world.”
Kahlon was referring to the heavy cuts made to the yeshiva budget by the previous government, when annual funding for yeshivot was cut from more than NIS 1b. to NIS 454m. in an effort to encourage men to find employment.
After the present government took office in 2015, the previous budget of more than NIS 1b.was restored.
Also speaking at the Hamodia conference was former Likud minister Gideon Sa’ar, who used his speech to reach out to the ultra-Orthodox ahead of an eventual political comeback.
He wore a black kippa, praised the leaders of Shas and United Torah Judaism and pronounced himself a regular reader of Hamodia.
Sa’ar urged the haredi population to continue to work on behalf of all of Israel and not just their particular sector. The former minister also advised the crowd to learn from Abraham and devote themselves to ensuring a better future for the people of Israel.
“Leaders must know to be leaders of everyone, not just those who voted for them,” he said. “Look at all of Israeli society, because it belongs to all of you, and you can have influence on it. Look to leave a better world than what you entered.”