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MKs Freeze IDF Money Pending for Yeshivot and Bus Protection

The Finance Committee froze the incoming IDF budget until funds are provided for the hesder yeshivas and bus protection in Judea and Samaria.
By Malkah Fleisher
First Publish: 12/1/2009, 10:50 PM / Last Update: 12/2/2009, 4:50 AM

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MKs Uri Ariel (National Union), Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) and Uri Orbach (Jewish Home) filed an appeal to the Knesset Finance Committee's decision Tuesday to approve the transfer of three billion shekels ($750 million) to the Israel Defense Forces. The practical implication is that the budget will be frozen until the appeal's hearing or until the MKs remove their opposition.

The Knesset members argued that since the security establishment did not agree to transfer the budget for the hesder army/yeshiva units or for the protection of public buses in Judea and Samaria – even though they ordered the protection of buses in the first place - it would be necessary to halt the budgetary transfers until a solution is found. Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) ordered the army and the Defense Department to respond to the requests and to reach an agreement with MKs.

"The defense establishment is hindering the funding of the yeshivas just because the heads of the yeshivas did not toe up to the line drawn for them by the IDF, to publicly say they oppose the refusal [of soldiers to take part in] the expulsion of Jews. There is more here than the bad appearance of collective punishment that can not be turned into an agenda," said MK Ariel.

"In addition, a lack of consent to transfer funds to protect buses which transport children in Judea and Samaria is strange, to speak gently, especially after the defense establishment requires local councils to use protected vehicles," he said.

"I hope that the defense establishment will understand that these demands are more than legitimate and will reach an agreement with us quickly," concluded MK Ariel.