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Israel Seeks to Double Security Budget for Jewish Settlers in East Jerusalem

The $10.3 million addition will bring the total expense for protecting homes of Jews in East Jerusalem settlers to $24.4 million - or over $7,700 per resident - in 2016.

The government plans on adding 40 million shekels ($10.3 million) to the sum already allocated for protecting Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem. A request to transfer this money was submitted by the Finance Ministry to the Knesset Finance Committee this week.
The ministry requested money transfers totaling 469 million shekels for various purposes.
The 41.5 million shekels’ addition will bring the total expense for protecting East Jerusalem settlers to 94.5 million shekels in 2016, similar to last year. The figure may increase again by the end of the year, as it has in previous years.
The security budget for East Jerusalem comes out of the Housing Ministry and does not include the police troops required to protect 2,500-3,000 Jewish settlers who live in the Palestinian neighborhoods in the east of the city. The bulk of the budget is intended for armed escorts in bullet-proof cars for the settlers of Silwan neighborhood, and escorts on foot for settlers in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City and Musrara, near Damascus Gate.
Other parts of the expense are earmarked for protecting the settlers’ compounds in Ir David-Silwan, Mount of Olives, Kidmat Zion and other places.
Until 2013 the East Jerusalem security budget was about 55 million shekels a year. In 2014, following a wave of violence in Jerusalem, the sum was increased to 101 million shekels. The Housing Ministry said at the time this was a one-time increase for installing cameras and security systems and the budget dropped in the following years.
In 2015 the sum rose to 94 million. The budget increase reflects the sharp rise in violence in East Jerusalem, which is largely directed at the Jewish settlers’ homes and cars, as well as the increase in the number of settlers living there.
According to the Finance Ministry, the protection of each Jewish resident in East Jerusalem costs more than 30,000 shekels.
The Finance Committee is due to discuss the transfers next week. Some of the requests stem from coalition agreements Likud made with the ultra-Orthodox parties and Habayit Hayehudi. They are earmarked for ultra-Orthodox institutions and schools and for subsidizing public transportation.
Meanwhile, following Shas leader and Interior Minister Arye Dery’s request, 650 million shekels will be allocated to the Transportation Ministry, to reduce public transportation prices. Also, the state will raise its subsidy to public transportation operators. This sum had been put in reserve when the state budget was drafted until such a time when the agreement with Shas was completed.
Under the agreement with the ultra-Orthodox parties, a 532 million-shekel surplus in the Education Ministry budget will be transferred from 2015 to 2016. This will add 3.3 million shekels to the independent education system associated with United Torah Judaism budget, bringing it to 1.7 billion. It will also add 1.5 million to religious institutions, bringing their budget up to 1.07 billion shekels.
The 469 million shekels requested by the Finance Ministry in transfers is to be covered by budgetary cutbacks in various ministries.
In addition to the 41.5 million shekels for protecting East Jerusalem settlers, transfers include 15 million shekels in grants to young settlements in the West Bank, 40 million shekels for schools in the Galilee and Negev, 39 million shekels for the communities along the Gaza border and 30 million shekels for poor people. The ministry said these allocations were decided on after the Knesset had approved the 2016 budget, so they will require a budget change.
The Finance Ministry suggests transferring 29 million shekels from the reserve to the Religious Affairs Ministry, 12 million shekels of which will go to the ministry’s activity at the Tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai at Mount Meron.
The treasury also suggests transferring 5.8 million shekels to the Negev, Galilee and Periphery Development Ministry, headed by Dery. A sum of 1 million shekels will be allocated to hire three workers and two students in the ministry and 850,000 shekels will go to changing the ministry’s name from the Negev and Galilee Development Ministry and Dery’s move from the Economy Ministry to the Interior Ministry.

Zvi Zrahiya

Haaretz Contributor

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.729403Schermata 2016 07 07 alle 08.43.11

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Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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