Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich faces backlash as Arab Municipal Representatives protest funding denial and surge in violence.
Following The refusal of Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich To Transfer Hundreds of Millions oF Shekels iN Budgeted Development Funding To Their Localities, Israeli Arab Localities Warn That They Will Not Open Schools Once the Summer Vacation Is Over
According to Al-Monitor’s article, Israeli Arab municipal representatives protested in Jerusalem against Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s decision to withhold hundreds of millions of shekels in budgeted development funds for their localities. They also expressed anger over an escalating wave of violence in the Arab sector, which has caused 158 deaths since the start of 2023—more than double last year’s rate.
Recent victims include four residents of Abu Snan and a local election candidate, as well as a prominent politician from Tira.
The discontent among Israeli Arab mayors was further heightened by the revelation that Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich had frozen a 200 million Israeli shekels ($55 million) allocation that was originally earmarked by the previous government for economic development in the underprivileged towns. The funds were intended to aid local governance, education, and essential services.
Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich decision sparked outrage not only among the Israeli Arab populace but also within his coalition partners, highlighting the broader impact of this move.
Read Also: Local News In Chicago: Good Samaritan’s Heroic Act Sparks Conversation On Chicago’s Crime Rate And Mayor’s Response
Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich: Israeli Officials Raise Concerns Amidst Protests and Stalled Arab Development Funds
Interior Minister Moshe Arbel of the Shas Party warned on August 7 about about the consequences as Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich withholds funds from Israeli Arab towns and villages already grappling with financial challenges. Arbel cautioned that denying these budgets would lead to deeper problems and greater future financial needs. Social Equality Minister Amichai Chikli voiced similar concerns on August 8, emphasizing that withholding essential grants lacks justification.
Despite Netanyahu’s pledge to allocate funds, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich stands firm. Israeli Arab towns strike for unfrozen funds, threaten broader September strike affecting school year. Local officials join women in Jerusalem protest, decrying violence surge and police responses.
Arbel urges Shin Bet role in Tira investigation, criticizing government inaction after assassination attempts. With October 31 local elections near, he cautions recent Arab sector violence could disrupt preparations.