Raiders of the Public Coffers

While the majority of the public want cuts in allocations to religious institutions, the Coalition is buying the votes of the ultra-orthodox parties, spending additional billions of tax money in shear contradiction to Israel’s security, economic and social interests. Shame on them!

Raiders of the Public CoffersRaiders of the Public Coffers


The full extent of the extortion of the government by its partners, (and mostly by the ultra-Orthodox and national-Orthodox parties) is now being revealed. Billions of shekels in “special allocation” funds [akin to “Pork Barrels”] have been revealed, surpassing anything we have seen in the past. Hiddush has just turned to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance today demanding that key aspects of the funding be reconsidered.

Both the Chief Economist of the Ministry of Finance, and its director of the Budget Department have issued warnings over the last couple of days, alerting the government that these allocations will undermine the Israeli economy and have additional far-reaching adverse consequences. They run counter to the national need to increase education that is geared toward the modern marketplace and expand participation in the labor force. Going ahead with these allocations would result in trillions of $ in national income loss, a need to raise taxes, future generations of self-imposed poverty, and the continued expectation from the State to continue providing the non-working ultra-Orthodox religious sector with handouts.

Some 30 years ago, the Supreme Court banned the “special allocations”, however there is no doubt that this deplorable phenomenon is now making a comeback, big time, and with no trace of shame. The words of Justice Barak, who expressed the principle that public funds should be allocated "according to the weight of the matter and not according to the weight of the interested party", illustrate the extent of the perversion that is occurring before the eyes of the public. Perhaps the politician’s desire to horse-trade State funds in order to buy the votes of the coalition partners also explains their eagerness to castrate the Supreme Court, lest it blocks them again.

The funding is feeding the growing appetite of the ultra-Orthodox and the National-Orthodox for their yeshivas, for yeshiva students

"Billions of shekels in “special allocation” funds [akin to “Pork Barrels”] have been revealed, surpassing anything we have seen in the past."

who evade military and civil service, for increased religious proselytizing of secular Israelis, and the expansion of state-funded education without core studies [intended to ensure that the younger generation too will be unable to integrate into the labor market and will remain dependent on public coffers). All this, while budgets for social welfare, aid to the poor and the middle class fall victim to political cynicism.

Many of the billions that the government and the Knesset are about to approve (if the public protest and the courts are of no avail) are detrimental to the most important interests of the State of Israel (namely - security and the economy) and will further alienate Diaspora Jewry, whom this government treats as second-class Jews.

What is just as important to emphasize is that that a large majority of the public, (including Likud voters) are opposed to these allocations, as shown by in-depth public opinion surveys conducted by Hiddush. In the Religion and State Index 2022 the public was asked for their reaction to the pre-election announcement by the leader of the Shas ultra-Orthodox religious party, which is now coming true. Rabbi Deri announced that "when we return to the government - we will demand budget allocations in billions and as an integral part of the State Budget". 73% of the adult Jewish population (including 59% of Likud voters!) expressed their opposition to these demands. When the public was asked about allocations for yeshivas (which will now be increased by billions of shekels) 69% of the adult Jewish public replied that support for yeshivas should be canceled or significantly cut, and this was also the position of 65% of Likud voters before the elections!

Thirty years have passed since the Supreme Court ruling against the illegal phenomenon of “special allocations”. It’s time to fight again for the eradication of these malignant tumors.


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