Budget of NIS 150M for Religious Services Approved

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni. (Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90)

The Finance Committee, led by MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni, approved a budget allocation of approximately NIS 150 million earmarked for religious services.

Prior to the debate, MK Vladimir Belyak of Yesh Atid raised concerns, stating that funds were being diverted from construction site supervision. He criticized the allocation, saying, “Just a few days ago, we had to halt the program for supporting immigrating scientists due to budget constraints, and now we suddenly have funds for Baba Sali’s hillula.”

Rabbi Gafni addressed this issue and sought clarification before the clause was put to a vote. He referenced reports in the morning newspapers. “I read in the newspapers this morning that MK Belyak claims that a portion of this budget comes from the construction supervision budget. I’d like to confirm that if this is accurate, I won’t bring this clause to a vote.”

Tal Israeli, a representative from the Budgets Division at the Ministry of Return, responded, “The answer is – no!”

The funds will serve various purposes, including infrastructure enhancement and safety measures in Meron, the renovation of mikvaos in Beit Shemesh, the hillula of the Baba Sali in Netivot, care of kevarim, the functioning of Rabbinical courts, and the salaries of Chief Rabbinate employees.

In addressing additional questions raised, the Ministry of Religion representative clarified regarding the budgeting of Rabbis, emphasizing that this allocation specifically supported community Rabbis, which differed from the concerns voiced by MKs. Concerning Beit Shemesh, it was noted that the ministry did not interfere with other ministries’ allocations.

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