Religious council recovery plan approved

The Herzliya city council has approved a recovery plan for the city's troubled religious council that will give it NIS 2.4 million this year to cover its accumulated deficit, in addition to an annual budget of almost NIS 6 million, reports In return, the religious council has promised to abide by the conditions of the recovery plan, which include not hiring new employees and not making extra salary payments without the approval of the Ministry for Religious Services. According to the report, discussions over a recovery plan first began in 2003, following the ministry's decision to cut off funding to religious councils around the country. A Herzliya religious council spokesman said the city had continued to provide funds to the religious council in the intervening years even after the ministry ceased doing so. Under the agreement, the city and the ministry will each give the religious council NIS 1.2 million to cover its accumulated deficit to the end of 2009. In addition, of the almost NIS 6 million annual budget, made up of NIS 3.57 million from the city and NIS 2.38 million from the ministry, an extra NIS 300,000 will also be given by the ministry to pay off retiring employees. "I hope that through this arrangement we will be able to keep a balanced budget," the religious council spokesman said.