(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger requested an increase in their personal expenditure budgets, Knesset Finance Committee Chairman Ya'acov Litzman, said Wednesday.
Litzman announced he would look into the request, the first step being to establish a professional committee.
The Chief Rabbinate's budget is funded by the Prime Minister's Office since the dismantling of the Religious Affairs Ministry in January 2004. Sources close to the rabbinate estimate that since the structural change, the Chief Rabbinate's budget has dropped steeply.
Litzman made the announcement after the Finance Committee approved a personal spending budget for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his wife. Among other budgetary issues, the committee decided upon the amount allotted to the couple for clothes, hospitality and maintenance of their private residence
The prime minister's budget was first approved by a special professional committee before receiving the Knesset Finance Committee's approval.
Olmert and his wife will have a clothes budget of NIS 45,000 this year. In addition, they will receive money for office services, mail and two assistants. Although a request to fund personal projects by Olmert's wife was declined, she will have access to travel, office and postal benefits. The Finance Committee asked that the professional committee specify further the prime minister's wife's right to give official gifts abroad.