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MK Israel Katz.(Photo by: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Katz idea to use foreign money to pay countries to move embassies? ‘Strange’
Foreign Minister Israel Katz wants to get countries to move their embassy to Jerusalem is a top priority, and believes that Israel should provide financial incentives to do so.
Senior officials dealing with fund-raising from abroad dismissed as “strange” an idea attributed to Foreign Minister Israel Katz to use funds from abroad to encourage countries to move their embassies to Jerusalem.

According to a report in Friday’s Makor Rishon, Katz – who has announced that getting countries to move their embassy to Jerusalem is a top priority, and that Israel should provide financial incentives to do so – wants to use foreign donations to move the embassies.

According to the report, this follows claims that budgetary issues is what is preventing some countries from moving their embassies. The Foreign Ministry is currently strapped with a significant budget deficit.

According to the story, the idea was already approved by the Foreign Ministry’s legal adviser, and is awaiting final approval from the government. Sources were quoted saying that if it was acceptable to raise money from abroad to pay for ceremonies marking Israel’s 70th anniversary, it should be equally acceptable to raise money to “strengthen Jerusalem.”

One source involved in fund-raising, however, said that there is something “wrong” with the concept of asking Jewish communities abroad to pay for a function that should be carried out by the government. If Israel wants to provide incentives to countries to move their embassies, it should do so from its existing budgets.

“Why stop here?” the official said. “Why not ask them to pay for the IDF’s budget, or for Israeli consulates in their countries? The whole concept is wrong.”

Secondly, he said, the reasons countries – with the exception of Guatemala – have not moved their embassies is not because of budgetary reasons. “It takes a lot of money to open an embassy, but not to move an existing one,” the official said. He added that it costs nothing for countries to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but this has – for the most part – not happened either.

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