JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Hidden inside the 2022 budget approved by the Bennett-Lapid government Monday morning after lengthy discussions is a clause which for the first time grants significant funds to anti-religious reform elements. Makor Rishon reporter Tzvika Klein wrote on Twitter that “the Progressive Judaism section in the Diaspora ministry will receive 40 million NIS in an attempt to counter the section for Jewish Culture which is ruled by religious Zionist elements. It is important to note that the new section will invest in activities in Israel and not in the Diaspora. This is a bad news for those opposed to Reform Judaism in Israel.”
Shas leader Aryeh Deri responded on his Twitter account, stating that “this is a sad moment for those who cherish the Jewish identity of the state. These reform Jews have sown terrible destruction and assimilation in US Jewry and are now receiving recognition and budgets from the Bennett-Kariv-Kahane government. The public is wise and can identify the attempts to harm traditional Judaism which has kept us united over all generations. We will continue to fight for the future of our children.”
Chareidi politicians had expressed frustration at other aspects of the budget, which seeks to raise fares on public transport which is heavily used by chareidim as well as heavily taxing disposable plastic which is also more commonly used by large chareidi families. The budget also places heavy taxes on sweet beverages but pointedly omits taxing whiskey, vodka and wines which are more commonly consumed by Finance Minister Lieberman’s constituency.
Former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu also attacked the budget, stating that “I passed numerous budgets but never saw such a poor budget. They say this a budget without a message but I say it has an awful message. This is a collection of economic decrees, raising taxes and prices. We reduced taxes and electricity prices. During the coronavirus crisis we supported citizens and didn’t raise taxes. What does the current government do? They raise prices of electricity, public transport, municipal rates, bread, items bought online from abroad, visits to specialist doctors, soft drinks, disposable plastics and even harm agriculture and local farmers.
“Why do they do this? They need to pay 53 billion NIS which they promised to Mansour Abbas so that their government can survive. They are forcing Israelis to pay an Abbas tax. Why should Israelis pay this price? They shouldn’t. We will topple this government as soon as possible.”