Daily Israel Report

Labor MK: Government Investing 'Too Much' in Judea and Samaria

MK Stav Shafir attacks the government, claims it secretly transferred millions to Judea and Samaria at the expense of other areas in Israel.
By Hezki Ezra
First Publish: 3/23/2014, 5:00 AM

MK Stav Shafir
MK Stav Shafir
Flash 90

MK Stav Shafir (Labor) launched a scathing attack on the Israeli government on Saturday night, over its investment in Judea and Samaria.

Shafir said that she had investigated the requests for changes in the budget during the Knesset's winter session and found that 598.8 million shekels were transferred to Judea and Samaria. This money, she claimed, came at the expense of funds being allocated to building in other areas in Israel.

The funds transferred, said Shaifr, include 36 million shekels in compensation for the 2009 construction freeze, 24 million shekels for investment in bringing young Israelis to live in Judea and Samaria, and 28 million for completion of construction in Beit El, among other things.

“These are hundreds of millions of shekels which were not included in the budget that was approved just last July, and were brought before the Finance Committee as requests for changes in the budget, even though in most cases these ‘changes’ were known in advance,” she charged. “For example, compensation for the 2009 construction freeze has been awarded to local authorities in Judea and Samaria every year since 2010 as per a government decision, and yet this was is not included in the budget.”

Shafir accused the government of deliberately hiding these sums from the public, saying these budget changes reveal the true priorities of the government.

“The government is keeping this over budgeting a secret from the public, because what will people think in Be'er Sheva, Haifa or Jerusalem, once they find out that people living beyond the Green Line are given houses, summer camps and public buildings for free - at the expense of other citizens Israel?” she said.

“Instead of equally dividing the tax money among the general public in Israel, one small group receives more than everyone else, under the table,” claimed Shafir.

"Only like this, when transferring money away from the public eye, can the government pretend to be working for the middle class and the framework agreement while simultaneously allocating huge budgets for the development of settlements," she charged.

Shafir added that she intends to continue to monitor the numbers and publicly expose them to taxpayers.

The left has criticized the Israeli government, particularly Finance Minister Yair Lapid, for giving “too much money” to Judea and Samaria at the expense of other places in Israel.

Lapid recently ordered that all money transfers to Judea and Samaria be stopped, following a publication on Channel 2 claiming that money is indirectly passing from the state's coffers to Judea and Samaria's Yesha Council. The hold on transfers has been ordered until the claims are investigated.

Journalist Amnon Abramovich had claimed compensation money over the building freezes was sent towards the end of the last government in early 2013, but wasn't used for its original purposes of security, strengthening schools and kindergartens. Instead, he claims it was transferred "illegally" to the Yesha Council for "political needs," including opposition to government policy.

That policy has included administrative orders arresting Judea and Samaria residents without evidence, trial or even an accusation of criminal activity, as well as "disruptive use orders" allowing the IDF to take Jewish land even with no Arab claims on it.

MK Shafir was one of the leaders of the social protests in Tel Aviv in 2011. It was later revealed that the extreme leftist New Israel Fund was behind those protests.