The Knesset Finance Committee on Tuesday approved a special budget transfer of 120 million shekels ($31.5 million) to bulletproof buses for routes traveling to Jewish communities located in Judea and Samaria.
The initiative was promoted by the joint efforts of National Union MK Uri Ariel, Likud MK Zev Elkin and Jewish Home MK Uri Orbach, with the assistance of the Finance Committee Chairman, UTJ MK Moshe Gafni and officials from the Prime Minister's Office.
The new budget includes an immediate transfer of 30 million shekels for protecting buses already traveling in Judea and Samaria, and an additional 120 million shekels will be transferred within the next three years. The initial funds will be transferred now for maintaining bulletproof buses and other transport vehicles currently being used.
"I am glad the injustice caused by the defense establishment that on the one hand forces us to use only the specially re-inforced buses, but on the other hand denies us the funds to finance that re-inforcement, has now been corrected," said MK Ariel.
Motorists are targeted almost daily by Palestinian Authority Arabs who hurl rocks and firebombs at Israeli vehicles, including buses, as they travel through Judea and Samaria. Terrorists also occasionally shoot at Israelis in these areas as well, part of an attempt to make Jews afraid to travel on the roads and to live in the region.
More than 45,000 students currently attend schools in Judea and Samaria, but many of them are located outside the communities in which they live. As a result, the students must be transported back and forth to class each day in bulletproof vehicles provided by the regional councils, which often require IDF escorts. This includes special education students, as well as children who travel on field trips, and tourists who are sight-seeing in the region.