Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

22 Teves 5761 - January 17, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
The Aim: To waste government money immediately

by N. Zeevi

The two big parties have each received more than forty million NIS in funding for the elections for prime minister. This is in addition to 120 minutes of free time each party will get on both television and radio for election broadcasts.

The other parties in the Knesset have also, for some reason, been allocated funds, even though they have no candidate running for prime minister. The formal justification for these allocations is that they have to finance a campaign to support one of the candidates. Each party received about 400,000 NIS per MK. The big challenge the parties, and especially the big parties, are faced with now, is to spend (waste?) these enormous sums in the little time that remains before the elections. Past or future costs and debts are not taken into account. The whole sum must be used only during the next few weeks. Any sums left over after the elections must be returned to the State, and no party is ready to return money received so easily.

How is it possible -- asks Nechemia Shtrassler, economic correspondent of Ha'aretz -- to spend so much money within a few weeks? Do the parties intend to hand out money to citizens? What will happen to prices when everybody knows that the parties have to spend all their money by the 6th of February? Who will become rich? Friends? Relatives? Secret partners?

Shtrassler cites the example of Shinui, which is to receive 2 million NIS to campaign for the candidate it prefers. This party has a regular weekly advertisement in one of the local Russian language newspapers. The week the announcement was made about funding for the elections, the party's treasurer, Avraham Poraz was notified by the paper that the price of their advert was going up to 40,000 NIS, an increase of 400 percent over the previous week!

"The newspaper is of the opinion that it too is entitled to a share of the loot," says Shtrassler. He writes that all sorts of businesses are trying to sell their wares: advertising devices, telephone listings, automatic dialers and so on, all for inflated prices, because everybody knows that the law forces the parties to spend the money quickly, and that they are not permitted to use the funds to cover debts.

Then again, who is interested in these funds, when such a fuss can be made about "the theft of public funds" by Torah institutions and the payment of Child Benefit allowances by Bituach Leumi to large chareidi families?

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