The Finance Ministry held a previously unpublicized meeting between officials from the Accountant General’s Office and the ministry’s legal counsel to discuss funding for Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, according to a bombshell report by Israel Hayom.
The Accountant General’s Office told the news outlet it would not comment on the content of the meeting, nor on the decisions made. The office issued a statement saying it “regularly holds professional-level meetings on a host of issues, including those pertaining to the debts of municipalities all across Israel to the state.”
The meeting was reportedly held to reverse a decision by former Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked – a member of the previous Lapid government – to transfer tens of millions of shekels to the settlements’ municipalities.
According to the report, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich not only did not attend the meeting – he was not even aware it was taking place. Moreover, he was informed about it only after it was over.
Israel Hayom speculated that Smotrich – who is a strong advocate for Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria — was not told because if the decision is carried out, his constituents and supporters will likely be outraged.
Such a decision would certainly negatively impact such communities, who face myriad security and other challenges and need whatever funding they can get. It is also likely the municipalities had already approved budgets for some of their activities based on the funds arranged by Shaked.
Smotrich spokesperson Eytan Fuld declined to comment on the report.