After years during which the Haredi parties held the position of Knesset Finance Committee Chairman as a substitute for a ministerial portfolio—MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) held the post since mid-2015, and earlier from 2009 to 2013—Israel Beiteinu MK Oded Forer, the new chairman of the provisional Finance Committee, has told Calcalist that reality is about to change significantly for the Haredim under his rule.
MK Forer promised that under his chairmanship the finance committee will change its priorities, and will no longer prioritize allocations for the Haredi sector.
“In principle, it is perfectly clear that the priorities are changing,” Forer declared. “We will favor anyone who has served in the military or the national service, serves in the reserves and participates in the workforce. Anyone who carries the burden must be first in line.”
Forer has served as MK for Yisrael Beiteinu since late 2015. His father, Shuki Forer, was mayor of Rehovot. His ancestors settled in Rehovot in the 1890s. In 2013 he was appointed Director-General of the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, under Minister Sofa Landver (Israel Beiteinu). During his tenure, aliyah rates increased by 30%.
Forer is only the interim chairman of the finance committee, but he may remain in office for at least another six months, until the political fog is dispersed. Such a scenario raises concerns for the Haredi parties who will be out of control of the budget precisely when the growing Haredi yeshivas are in the most dire need because, without a government, the 2019 budget is still in effect.
Meanwhile, finance committee from the Likud, Shas and UTJ boycotted Wednesday’s committee meeting, and may also boycott the meeting Forer has called for Thursday morning to discuss the Corona crisis with the Director General of the Finance Ministry, Shai Babad.