Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir
Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-GvirOlivier Fitoussi/Flash90

The government today (Sunday) approved the distribution of coalition funds for the years 2023-2024, which amount to NIS 13,600 billion. The budget caused outrage at the weekly Cabinet meeting.

The three Otzma Yehudit ministers, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Yitzhak Wasserlauf, and Amihai Eliyahu, as well as United Torah Judaism Ministers Yitzhak Goldknopf and Meir Porush, voted against the distribution of funds.

Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said: "Otzma Yehudit opposes this budget, we cannot forget the Negev and the Galilee, the distribution should be fair, it cannot be that Bezalel [Smotrich] will take three billion for himself and leave the Negev and the Galilee without a budget. The Finance Minister is an important position, but he must remember that the 14 seats we received together are from people who want to Judaize the Negev and the Galilee."

Minister Yitzhak Wasserlauf said: "I am disappointed and angry, we took the Negev and the Galilee and turned it into a strategic ministry, but in every discussion, the budget goes down and down. It is easy for Bezalel to negotiate with himself, this will harm the Negev and the Galilee. Only 14% of Jews remain in the Galilee, we want to Judaize the Negev and the Galilee, but without a budget we will not be able to do it. This is also a violation of the agreement of what we were promised, I hope the budget will not pass as it is."

Minister Goldknopf commented on the coalition agreements, which specified that haredi schools would receive significant funding: "It's about equality, no one received anything. We should determine what the core studies are, not someone from outside Israel."

"They are harming the special education kindergartens of the haredi sector. How can they talk all day long about core studies and now attempt to cut funding from precisely those who want to study the core studies? This budget also does not bring good news to the periphery."