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.

Netanyahu speech, US Congress, Israel, USA

Leader of the protest movement: 'Netanyahu, one of the best speakers I've seen'

Shira Margalit, the wife of a prominent figure in the left-wing protest movement in Kaplan, praised on social media Netanyahu's speech to the American Congress, calling him "one of the best speakers I've seen."

Eliana Fleming, JFeed Staff | 19:32

US Congress, Prime Minister speech, Netanyahu, Israel

Congress speech update: Netanyahu on post-war Gaza "We need civil control"

In his highly anticipated speech to US Congress members, Benjamin Netanyahu discusses his visions for the day after in Gaza, rising Anti-Semitism, and the war in the North while emphasizing the global importance in fighting terrorism on all fronts.

Eliana Fleming, JFeed Staff | 19:08

US Poll, Trump, Presidential Elections, Biden, Harris

New Polls in the US: Trump Still Leads

New polls conducted in the United States following Biden's retirement show that Trump maintains his lead in terms of support, although the race is becoming tighter.

Eliana Fleming, JFeed Staff | 18:59

Congress speech, US visit, Netanyahu, Israel

Netanyahu thanks Biden in speech: 'Stood by our side in tough times'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently addressing the American Congress in a special session in Washington, where he is expected to discuss the Gaza war, efforts to free hostages, and the Iranian challenge. Watch the live broadcast.

Eliana Fleming, JFeed Staff | 18:47

Netanyahu, Congress Speech, US-Israel

Live updates: Netanyahu's speech to the American Congress

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently addressing the American Congress in a special session in Washington, where he is expected to discuss the Gaza war, efforts to free hostages, and the Iranian challenge. Watch the live broadcast.

Eliana Fleming, JFeed Staff | 18:20

Israel-Gaza War, US Congress

Report: Netanyahu to discuss "day after" plan for Gaza in speech to Congress

Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly told leaders of American Jewish organizations that he would discuss plans for the "day after" the war in his speech to Congress today.

Avi Woolf | 17:32

Politics, United States

About 80 Congressmembers and 6 Senators expected to skip Netanyahu's speech

Among those who are not attending are Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Congressmember Jerry Nadler

Avi Woolf | 16:51

Ukraine, Russia

Ukraine - Russia peace talks? – Here's what we know

In a dramatic shift, Kyiv signals willingness for peace talks, but Moscow's sincerity remains the linchpin

Gila Isaacson | 16:18

United States, Hostage Deal

Source: This is why hostage team is being delayed

According to a political source, the Israeli hostage team is heading out to Cairo next week to allow time for the following meeting.

Liran Vainshtain, JFeed Staff | 16:09

Ethiopia, Landslide, disaster, heavy rain

229 dead in catastrophic Ethiopian landslide

The landslides occurred between Sunday evening and Monday morning, following intense rainfall in a secluded mountainous region within the Gofa zone. Local officials stated that efforts to find survivors were ongoing with great intensity, yet they warned that the number of casualties might still rise.

Eliana Fleming | 16:02

Candace Owens, Trump, US Elections 2024

Candace Owens drops out of Trump event amid controversy 

Far-right figure Candace Owens, known for her antisemitic rhetoric, withdraws from Nashville appearance with Donald Trump Jr. after facing backlash.

Avi Nachmani | 15:51

Hamas-Israel war, Gaza strip, IDF, wounded

Released for publication: two fighters were seriously injured in the battle in the Gaza Strip

Two IDF soldiers from the Givati ​​Brigade and the paratroopers were seriously injured in the fighting in the southern Gaza Strip. The injured were evacuated to receive medical treatment at the hospitals, their families were informed.

Eliana Fleming, JFeed Staff | 15:50