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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Doctors Plan Strike at Israeli Public Hospitals

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

If you are planning elective surgery or any kind of hospital-based procedure this week, you may want to reconsider your scheduling.

Israeli doctors in public hospitals are planning to strike this coming Thursday if demands for budget supplements from the Health Ministry for additional staffing are not met.

The doctors are also concerned about the possibility that Health Minister Yaacov Litzman may issue a ban against department heads that could stop them from maintaining a private practice. However, Litzman has told media that he has decided not to move ahead with such a ban.

If the strike actually takes place — which does not always happen due to last-minute negotiations or Labor Court action — the hospitals are expected to operate on a Shabbat schedule. This means that elective surgeries and non-emergency treatments will be delayed or deferred altogether.

Hana Levi Julian

20% Drop in Aliyah Numbers Blamed on Late Budget Allocations

Monday, June 6th, 2016

More than 30,000 people immigrated to Israel last year, but the first six months of 2016 have seen a 20% decline in the number of new immigrants, according to a report revealed during Monday’s meeting of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs. At this point it is believed that the decline is due to absorption problems related to insufficient budgets, as well as the emergence of immigration destinations that are more appealing than Israel.

“Last year’s wave of Aliyah has come to a halt due to lack of coordination, clumsiness and negligence,” Committee Chairman MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) said during the special meeting on the preparations of local authorities and government ministries to absorb immigrants.

“A window of opportunity has opened for us, and it is our duty to take advantage of it and not have any regrets once it closes,” Neguise added. He called on the Interior Ministry to update the list of Israeli cities which are eligible for benefits for the absorption of immigrants. He suggested the list had not been updated in decades.

The Finance Ministry’s representative at the meeting said both the Finance and Interior ministries are currently holding negotiations regarding the status of immigrant cities. She said the Knesset Finance Committee, not the Finance Ministry, was to blame for the delay in the allocation of government funds to the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption. Haviv Katzav, the Ministry’s Director General, warned that numerous plans may be put on hold due to the delay in the transfer of funds.

Avi Ben-Hamo, Director General of the Netanya Municipality, said 67,000 immigrants live in the city, which has a total population of 235,000. “Our city has the highest concentration of immigrants from Ethiopia, in addition to many immigrants from France and the Commonwealth of Independent States,” he said, adding that in 2015 Netanya absorbed the third largest number of immigrants, yet it is still not categorized as an “immigrant city.”

“[Neighboring] Ramat Hasharon continues to be defined as an immigrant city despite the fact that not even one immigrant has settled there in years,” Ben-Hamo said. “In protest, our services for olim will be not be available in the next few months due to insufficient funding from the government.”

MK Mordhay Yogev (HaBayit HaYehudi) argued that this year’s drop in immigration to Israel stems solely from absorption problems. He called on the Prime Minister’s Office to make certain that medical degrees obtained abroad are recognized in Israel and that lone soldiers are cared for. Yogev also urged the government to redefine immigrant cities.

Yehuda Scharf, Director of Aliyah and Absorption at the Jewish Agency, warned that without proper government funding the situation would become worse. “Currently, French nationals who are looking to emigrate have many options, so if we do not offer them at least what other countries are offering – we’ll be facing stiff competition,” he said.

JNi.Media

France Continues Funding PA General Budget, thereby Paying Salaries to Terrorists

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

{Originally posted to the PMW website}

Following Palestinian Media Watch‘s exposure that the Palestinian Authority general budget funds the PA hate and terror promotion and rewards terrorist prisoners with high salaries, the US, the EU, Norway, and other European donors all stopped giving money to the PA general budget so that their money would not go directly to pay salaries for Palestinian terrorists.

This is not true for France. The PA announced last week that France signed agreements to give the PA money for various projects and in addition: “financial aid directly to the public treasury in the amount of 8 million euro.”

The PA general budget that France is contributing to pays monthly salaries to terrorists like Hamas bomb maker Abdallah Barghouti, whose bombs murdered 67 people, and Abbas Al-Sayid, who planned two suicide bombings in which 35 were killed, as well as all other Palestinians imprisoned for terror crimes.

The French government should note that the PA pays more than $12 million a month in salaries to terrorist prisoners. [Official PA TV, June 11, 2014] Accordingly, France’s 8 million euro ($8.9 million) will cover approximately three weeks of terrorists’ salaries.

The PA salary payments to terrorists have been documented extensively by PMW since 2011, most recently in the report The PA’s Billion Dollar Fraud, which documents that despite having promised international donors that it had ceased rewarding terrorists with salaries, the PA still continues this practice.

Recently, Mahmoud Abbas has indirectly confirmed PMW’s charge. When the Norwegian Foreign Minister complained to Abbas about the PA paying terrorists’ salaries, Abbas did not deny it but said it is not with Norwegian money: “In the meeting, I emphasized that this support program in which financial payments are increased the [longer] the prisoners serve time [in prison], is unacceptable… Abbas responded by repeating assurances that Norwegian funds are not going to finance the program.” [Dagen (Norway), May 4, 2016]

This is not true for France, which funds the PA budget directly.

The following is the article in the PA daily about French funding of the PA’s general budget:

“[PA] Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah briefed the government members during the weekly meeting held today [May 25, 2016] in Ramallah, regarding results of the meeting he held in his office yesterday with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls… The [PA] prime minister expressed his gratitude to the French government for the ongoing support that it gives to the Palestinian people, whether directly or through the European Union. Likewise, he praised the three agreements that were signed during the visit. They are the agreement to fund the administration of a wastewater project in Hebron in the amount of 13 million euro, the agreement to carry out research and for the French Agency to give technical aid for future development of Palestine in the amount of 500,000 euro, and the agreement to give financial aid directly to the public treasury in the amount of 8 million euro.”
[Donia Al-Watan (independent Palestinian news agency), May 25, 2016]

Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf:
“The Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs [Today the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, that receives the same budget from the PA, Ed.] established in the Palestinian National Authority has the third highest monthly budget in the PA, meaning it is the third largest PA government ministry. That is, over 40 million shekels [i.e., 12 million dollars] a month, which the Palestinian Authority pays the prisoners, the released prisoners and their families.”
[Official PA TV, June 11, 2014]
Palestinian Media Watch

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to Arrive in Israel March 7

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden is set to visit the State of Israel on March 7.

Biden’s two-day visit is aimed at reaching an understanding before the two countries sign a defense memorandum of understanding.

The Vice President’s visit comes after a statement made two weeks ago by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he said that if the U.S. and Israel cannot reach an “understanding” on the budget, it would be better to postpone signing the memorandum until the next president is sworn in. Netanyahu has asked for a $2 billion raise to $5 billion in annual defense aid. The current budget ends in 2018; but Netanyahu is looking ahead towards the research and development time it takes to put together the various elements on the military “laundry list.”

The prime minister said that more is needed in order to buy advanced aircraft and refueling aircraft as well as to develop anti-missile systems, intelligence equipment, cyber technologies and advanced tanks.

Senior U.S. officials have reacted by warning that America’s budget is not going to improve and that Israel will not get a better deal with the next president, regardless of who that may be.

Hana Levi Julian

Knesset Coalition Avoids 266 Hr. Budget Debate as Opposition Submits 32,000 Amendments

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

(JNi.media) “Despite the opposition’s amendments, 32,000 altogether—which shows how serious they are—we will pass a budget this week,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before the start of the budget debate which began Wednesday afternoon.

Rookie Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon opened the budget debate with a call to Knesset Members to vote for his budget, and the Knesset plenum is already engaged in second and third voting on both the state budget and the Economic Arrangements Law for 2015-2016–which incorporates all bills and legislative amendments required for the government to fulfill its economic policy. The agenda calls for 600 votes, give or take, a process that will last many consecutive hours until some time Thursday morning.

This legislative marathon began with a brilliant parliamentary trick on the part of the opposition parties, led by MK Itzhak Herzog (Zionist Camp). The idea was to topple the government through excessive amendments. The math was simple: by law the budget must be approved by Thursday night at the latest, or the government falls and the country goes to new elections. So the opposition parties amassed 32,000 amendments to the budget, expecting that with a vote on each amendment the debate would last well into Shabbat afternoon, and by then the Netanyahu government would have been a faint memory.

But there are crafty parliamentarians on the Coalition side, too, and they decided on a precedent: they bunched related amendments together to create six hundred groups, allotting one vote per group, so that the process would last not more than 15 hours—give or take.

MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Camp) threatened to appeal the anti-ambush ambush call of the House Committee to the High Court, and MK Israel Eichler (UTJ) told him: “Be my guest, submit all the amendments to the Supreme Court and let the justices sit and vote for two weeks running on those 32,000 amendments. They are the real sovereigns anyway, let them legislate a little…”

Netanyahu, whose 61-59 majority government was not supposed to last through the start of the Jewish year appears to be sailing calmly into New Year’s, and is very pleased with his budget, which “maintains a proper, responsible macroeconomic framework for Israel, but also adds billions to education, welfare and health, and is accompanied by very important reforms to lower the cost of living, streamline our bureaucracy and advance the Israeli economy. The economy is very strong, very stable, one of the most prominent among the world’s economies, and our responsibility is to continue this trend.”

“All that’s required of us is 24 hours of discipline,” Netanyahu commented on the marathon budget vote. “We proved that we are good at being disciplined, our small electoral advantage is meaningful, and we will maintain it and pass the Budget.”

Finance Minister Kahlon was especially proud of his defense budget: “We have reached an historic agreement with the security forces and the army,” he boasted to Calcalist. “An agreement which includes a large scale streamlining of the system alongside intensification and a multi-year budget. We’ve done away with the phenomenon of IDF officers having to court the politicians to get a bigger budget, otherwise they’d stop military training — we made that phenomenon disappear and it is no more.”

Kahlon continued: “We raised conscripts’ pay by 50%,” noting, “I think that’s not enough, they deserve more.” Israeli enlisted men and women get laughably small monthly salaries, which widens the gap between soldiers from rich and poor homes. “We want a strong economy, a healthy society and a strong army,” Kahlon said.

JNi.Media

City of Jerusalem & Parents’ Group Declare School Strike Over Inadequate Security

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

The Jerusalem municipality joined the city parents’ association to declare a school strike Thursday for students in grades 9-12 to protest inadequate government security funding.

High schools throughout Jerusalem will be on strike as both the city and the parents demand the government pay for security measures that will protect schools throughout the school day.

Elementary schools are in session as usual.

“As long as the government is shirking its responsibility for school security, we will not abandon our children,” explained Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in a statement released Wednesday night.

According to the statement, security for Jerusalem schools is funded only until 1:30 pm.

Security coverage at school is not funded after that time, and those communities who cannot afford to pay for it may simply have no coverage until the end of the school day.

Hana Levi Julian

Knesset Approves Budget in 1st Voting Round as Shas Threatens to Pull Support

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

(JNi.media) On Wednesday night, at the end of a seven-hour debate, a majority of 57 coalition MKs supported the Netanyahu government budget proposal, versus 53 opposition votes, with Minister of the Economy Aryeh Deri absent from the session during a vote so closely related to his office. Deri threatened that should the issue of zero VAT on essential products not be resolved by the following voting round, his party, Shas, would oppose the budget.

The Knesset’s first voting round approved the Budget bill for the years 2015-2016. Immediately thereafter, the Knesset passed the Economic Arrangements bill in a first vote, with Economy Minister Deri absent from that vote as well.

Immediately thereafter, the Knesset passed the Economic Arrangements Law first reading with the same. This vote also absent Economy Minister Deri.

The Economic Arrangements Law includes all the necessary changes in legislation needed to implement the measures the government wants to enact as part of the state budget. A new economic arrangements act has been presented annually to the Knesset since 1985, adjacent to the state budget proposal. The law is a set of proposed changes in many areas, each of which requires special legislation. Instead of drafting a bill on every individual subject, the government packs all those provisions in a single bill.

The state budget for 2015 will reach $84 billion, and $89 billion in 2016. The deficit target in 2016-2015 would be 2.9% of GDP. For comparison, Israel’s next door neighbor, Jordan, with roughly the same size population — about 8 million — has an annual budget of $10.5 billion.

A senior Shas official explained that Shas MKs approached Minister Aryeh Deri Wednesday night and expressed anger that the issue of the zero VAT on essential products has not been finalized with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, despite having been agreed on at the cabinet budget meeting. At a consequent meeting with his faction members, Deri ordered them to vote for the budget in the first round, but threatened that if the zero VAT legislation would not come through, the Shas faction would not support the budget.

Deri, who was absent from the vote, struck an offset deal with an opposition member who committed to also abstain. Altogether, the MKs did not permit the fact that not all coalition members were on hand at the vote to be turned into a consequent vote of no confidence, since such an attempt would have ended in little more than theatrics. On Wednesday night, MKs were more interested in addressing real issues.

Israel Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman slammed the budget proposal, calling it “Isra-bluff.” Lieberman asked, “How can we approve a budget without knowing the size of the defense budget, which counts for its largest part? How can we approve a budget when we’re told about 4%, across the board cuts?”

According to Lieberman, the problem is that the Prime Minister doesn’t know how to make decisions, only how to babble and chat.

Finance Minister Kahlon said the proposed budget is one of the best Israel has had in recent years. “The budget brings good news on the cost of living,” said Kahlon, adding that the greatest threat to the country’s stability are the social gaps: “This is a national task and this Government is working bring the periphery closer and promote competition,” he said.

“I became Minister of Finance in awe,” Kahlon told the Knesset. “What I’m trying to pass is an Israel in which there is equality, there is compassion, there is a mutual responsibility and there are social values. There are weak and poor among us, converts, widows and orphans. We mustn’t be cynical about this.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/knesset-approves-budget-in-1st-voting-round-as-shas-threatens-to-pull-support/2015/09/03/

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