Smotrich's Response to Arbel's Letter

Smotrich: "There are more important needs than Ra'am's political funds"

The Minister of Finance responds to the letter from the Minister of the Interior regarding the transfer of political funds to the Arab authorities: "This is political coalition money and has no professional justification"

(Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich responded to Interior Minister Moshe Arbel's letter regarding the transfer of political grants to the Arab authorities in the amount of 200 million NIS. The source of the budget in question is from the previous government, which former Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked pledged to the chairman of the Ra'am party, Mansour Abbas.

Following the Finance Minister's decision to freeze a special grant that was promised to the Arab authorities in the previous government, the Interior Minister sent a letter to Smotrich. Arbel wrote that "these days, when the balance and development grant budgets are supposed to be distributed to the local authorities, I call on you to allow the release of the budgets for the Arab local authorities as well."

In response to this, the finance minister sent a letter stating that there are more urgent and important needs than continuing to transfer the political funds of the Ra'am party. "This is political coalition money given at the request of Ra'am and Mansour Abbas in the previous government and it has no professional justification."

Interior Minister Moshe Arbel (Photo: Noam Revkin/Flash90)

The current government's policy is different from the previous one

Smotrich pointed out that the Arab authorities receive the grants they deserve like any other authority, and that there is no reason to give the Arabs grants that the Jewish authorities do not receive, "apart from a political demand by Abbas who wanted to make political capital on the state budget and bribe his voters in Arab society."

In contrast to Arbel's letter, Smotrich mentions that officials in the Ministry of Finance believe that this budget has no justification. "They opposed it in the previous government, and it was passed contrary to their position." "Currently, the policies and priorities of the current government differ from those of the previous government," says Smotrich.

"The state budget is a limited resource, and determining budgetary priorities reflects a world view of values and social considerations." Smotrich explains that the Ministry of Finance has signed a salary agreement with Ulpan teachers, in addition to the lack of funding for special education and finding budgets for security, boosting the economy, and more. "In my priorities, all of these are more important than continuing the political funds of the Ra'am party."

These funds harm the security of all of us

Another issue that Smotrich raises is the flow of money to criminal and terror organizations that have taken control of the tenders in Arab authorities. "There is no mechanism that bypasses these tenders, certainly in terms of the ongoing budgets of the authorities, such as this grant. Tenders that originate from the ongoing budgets of the authorities and are carried out by the authorities themselves often fall into the hands of criminal and terror elements, and these harm the personal security of all of us."

"The people of the Accountant General are in dialogue with the professionals in your office to find a solution for you, but so far we have not received cooperation and the mechanism has not been found to ensure the implementation of the current authorities' budgets for their purposes. I would appreciate your instructing the people in your office to cooperate with the professionals in my office to summarize the aforementioned control and supervision mechanisms."

A fundamentally flawed argument

At the conclusion of the letter, Smotrich addresses the claim that the Arab authorities built on this budget: "This is an unfounded argument from its inception. The local authorities approved their budget for 2023 before the end of 2022 - during the election period and the negotiations for forming the new government. During this period, there was no government and certainly no approved state budget that could be built upon."

"The authorities knew that this is coalition money that is not based on their needs, which was first granted to them in the previous left-wing government, and there is absolutely no reason in the world that it should be granted in our government as well. Are you suggesting that, heaven forbid, if someday a left-wing government is formed here, it will continue to budget our coalition funds, reflecting our priorities and values, because the bodies receiving the funding are built on us?!"

"The priorities of our national government, mine as finance minister and I am convinced that yours as interior minister, are different from those of the previous left-wing government and we do not need to apologize for that."

funds from the previous government. Ayelet Shaked (Photo: Avraham Bloch)

0 Comments

Do not send comments that include inflammatory words, defamation, and content that exceeds the limit of good taste.

Israel-Gaza War, Northern Front

IDF continues to pound Hezbollah in Lebanon

Air Force planes continue to strike Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, while helicopters and artillery struck identified threats elsewhere.

JFeed Staff | 21.02.24

Israel-Gaza War

IDF releases map with bird's eye view of Gaza Strip and location of some of Hamas' bases and factories

The IDF continues to publicize the location of Hamas warfare sites underneath civilian areas, releasing a map showing just some of these discoveries.

Avi Woolf | 21.02.24

IDF, Jordan Valley

Mass weapons smuggling effort foiled in Jordan Valley

Two residents of the Aqabat Jaber refugee camp were arrested in the Jordan Valley while trying to smuggle a large number of arms into Israeli territory.

JFeed Staff | 21.02.24

Israel-Gaza War

Watch: Terrorist fires mortars from Gaza, is eliminated within minutes

A Hamas terrorist firing mortars from Gaza was identified by the Gaza Division war room and eliminated from the air. Watch:

JFeed Staff | 21.02.24

Israel-Gaza War, Bedouin

Bedouin who saved soldiers' lives on October 7 made permanent resident

Interior Minister Moshe Arbel decided to Hamid Abu Arar, a resident of Aroer who saved the lives of 45 soldiers on October 7. "Your actions touched all our hearts."

Oz Israel Schwartz, JFeed Staff | 21.02.24

War in the North

IDF bombs building where terrorists were hiding | Watch

IDF planes attacked a building where terrorists were hiding near the village of Yaroun. 

JFeed Staff | 21.02.24

Israel-Gaza War, Knesset, Palestinian State

99 MKs vote in favor of rejecting one-sided recognition of a Palestinian state

The Knesset voted overwhelmingly in favor of a government statement rejecting global recognition of a Palestinian state without a negotiated settlement.

Yair Amar, JFeed Staff | 21.02.24

Syria attack

Arab media: Another blast in Syria

Following the attack on a luxury building in the heart of Damascus attributed to Israel, Arab media is reporting another air strike in Syrian territory against Iranian ammunition depots.

Yair Amar, JFeed Staff | 21.02.24
Terrorist who murdered Rabbi Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane and his wife (H"YD) dies in prison

Kahled Jamal Musa Shawish, head of the Tanzim in Ramallah died yesterday in the hospital. The circumstances of the death are being investigated.

JFeed Staff | 21.02.24

Syria Strike

Targeted strike on building in the heart of Damascus | Watch

The bombed is located in the Sousa neighborhood - home to members of Hezbollah and Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

JFeed Staff | 21.02.24

Israel-Gaza War, Judea & Samaria

"Unprecedented:" 400 terrorists eliminated in Judea & Samaria since outbreak of war

The IDF's operation in Jenin yesterday ended with a number of arrests and three terrorists eliminated, including the Fatah commander in Qalqilya.

Arye Yoeli, JFeed Staff | 21.02.24

Israel-Gaza War, American Jews

Survey: American Jews' surprising political shift since outbreak of Gaza war

According to a survey published last night, presidential candidate Donald Trump leads Biden by 9% amongst Jews in the state of NY.

JFeed Staff | 21.02.24