Earlier today (Monday), following a meeting between representatives of the Treasury and Interior Ministries, it was decided that the funds that Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich announced he would not transfer to the Arab authorities will be redirected through a mechanism to be established in the Ministry of the Interior. After the committee's decision, the Finance Minister responded: "We are putting a stop to the takeover by criminal organizations."
Smotrich referred to the committee's decision and the agreements reached around the establishment of monitoring mechanisms for the budget transfers, saying, "We are committed to eradicating crime and corruption, period."
"I am pleased to announce that the Government of Israel has accepted my request to establish, for the first time, a system of operation, control, and supervision over the budgets transferred to the Arab authorities in order to prevent the diversion of funds to criminal organizations. For many years, warnings were issued, reports were written, and promises were made, and now, for the first time, it is happening – we are putting an end to the criminal organizations' control over the budgets allocated to the Arab authorities."
Smotrich: "Until we ensure that the mechanism is operational on the ground, we will not transfer a single shekel to the authorities"
The minister concluded with a commitment: "This system, which will apply to all budgets, including ongoing and development budgets, will be brought to the government's approval, and until we ensure that it has been established and is operational on the ground, we will not transfer a single shekel to the authorities. I thank the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Interior, the head of the Shabak, and the Commissioner of Police for their support and collaboration. We are committed to eradicating crime and corruption, period."
As reported following a meeting between representatives of the Ministries of Finance and Interior, with the participation of heads of Arab authorities and the head of the Shabak, it was decided that the funds that the Minister of Finance announced would not be transferred to the Arab authorities will be transferred through a mechanism to be established in the Ministry of the Interior.
The control mechanisms of the budget transfer will be activated within two weeks
Simultaneously, a package of laws will be advanced that will grant legal and economic enforcement powers against organized crime groups in the Arab society. In addition, the Ministry of Finance will immediately allocate tens of millions of shekels for the technological resources required by the Israeli police to enhance enforcement and personal security in the Arab community.
During the course of the meeting, the heads of the Arab authorities agreed to a principle whereby all budgets will be transferred through operational, monitoring, and control mechanisms that ensure the allocation of budgets for the benefit of Arab citizens of Israel and not to criminal organizations.
According to the decision, these mechanisms will be formulated and approved by the government within two weeks. Subject to this, the Ministry of Finance will immediately transfer the ongoing budget for the year 2023 to the Ministry of the Interior, contingent on the commitment of the Minister of the Interior that the budgets will only be transferred to the authorities after the formulation of the aforementioned mechanisms.