Chairman Danny Danon of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs told Religious Affairs Minister Ya'akov Margi on Thursday to prepare a proposal for the government to determine criteria for supporting the Chabad Lubavitch hassidic movement's expenses for security, Jewish identity education and aliyah (emigration to Israel) at its centers around the world. Danon, who heads the Knesset lobby for Chabad missions, also called on Education Minister Gidon Sa'ar to increase its assistance to Chabad and to restore the budget for Jewish identity education abroad to its original level of 48 million shekels, which shrank to eight million shekels between 1987 and 2003.
The call came at the end of a committee hearing on cooperation between the government and Chabad. Rabbi Nechemia Wilhelm, Chabad emissary in Thailand, told the committee that security expenses can run from 60,000 to 80,000 dollars a year. Chabad was cited for increasing aliyah. Director-General Ronen Plot of the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs called on all Chabad houses to submit proposals for cooperation and said they would be taken seriously.