Finance Committee Approves Compensation Package

The Knesset Finance Committee this morning approved 35 million shekels for the implementation of the Disengagement Implementation Law.

, | updated: 12:21 PM

The money will be transferred to the Disengagement Authority for use in advance payments to the owners of businesses in the closed Erez Industrial Zone north of Gaza, and to Jewish families willing to evacuate their homes in Gush Katif and Samaria ahead of the planned forced expulsion.

The allocation was approved by the Committee in a vote of 10 to 8, following last week's inconclusive, evenly split vote. Today, Knesset Member Yakov Litzman of United Torah Judaism (UTJ) absented himself from the vote, while Likud MK Daniel Benlolo, who voted against the disengagement plan in Knesset, voted in favor of the allocation. MK Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash-Ta'al), who abstained in the vote last week, voted in favor of the compensation package this time around.

MK Benlolo claimed that his final "yes" vote was motivated by requests from representatives from Gush Katif not to prejudice their rights to receive compensation. Benlolo thus deflected heavy pressures exerted on him by right-wing activists, including Ze'ev Hever, head of the Amanah settlement organization, who waited outside the conference room where the Finance Committee was meeting.

MK Litzman's absence was apparently in opposition to the decision of the rabbinical leadership of UTJ, which had directed party members to oppose implementation of the government's Disengagement Plan.