| 9 December 2023, Saturday |

Israel says it will divert some far-right coalition party funds to war effort

The Israeli finance ministry announced on Friday that it will redirect billions of shekels ($440 million) intended for parties in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right coalition government toward the war effort this year.

Prominent Israeli economists and central bankers have predicted that the government will spend tens of billions of shekels fighting Hamas, and they have urged Netanyahu to cut billions of dollars in unnecessary spending.

They expressed alarm last month at the government’s plan to transfer 9 billion shekels ($2.2 billion) to ultra-Orthodox and far-right-wing pro-settler parties, as part of an agreement Netanyahu made with them to secure his ruling coalition.

The finance ministry’s proposal would cut around 70% of 2.5 billion shekels of funding for coalition partners still due to be paid in the current 2023 budget.

The funds are highly contentious as much of the money is aimed at encouraging ultra-Orthodox men, who are exempt from mandatory army service, to remain outside the workforce.

  • Reuters