Wednesday, October 25, 2023

I'm not sure how to react to this...

 So there was a terrible attack in Israel, their 9/11. And we are in violent agreement that we should support Israel for a variety of reasons: it's the only full democracy in the region, they were victims of a terrorist attack, women and children were brutally killed, and the terrorists took over 200 people and are using them as human shields.

So, we should support them. And, we already give them $3 Billion a year for self-defense. 

But does anyone but me have a problem that the Israeli government won't take any optional funds away from the Orthodox in their country who do not work or serve in the army?  I mean, these funds are not required in the country and are all payoffs to trade from Netanyahu's government coalition.  

The money that they will not redirect includes money for West Bank Settlers. Money for Orthodox schools that do not teach the basics was TRIPLED in the last budget. But they will not redirect any of these funds, even though they have not been allocated yet.

I totally think that the Israeli government has every right to spend their taxes however they want. But why are MY taxes going to Israel when their own tax money doesn't?

From NYTimes - from Peter Coy - a very moderate opinion writer:

While the world’s eyes are on Gaza, another drama is unfolding in Jerusalem. There, lawmakers and government ministers are tussling over how to pay for the war against Hamas. There’s a debate over how much, if any, of the money should come from special allotments that were made earlier this year to the ultra-Orthodox and to settlers in the West Bank.

Eight days after the murderous Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, Bezalel Smotrich, the radical rightist who serves as finance minister in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said at a news conference that he had issued instructions to change the order of budgetary priorities. At the time, he didn’t seem to exempt so-called coalition funds, much of which are earmarked for the ultra-Orthodox and the settlers. Coalition funds are an obvious potential source for the war effort because they’re not required for the basic operations of government.

More recently, though, Smotrich has shown little interest in diverting funds intended for the ultra-Orthodox and the settlers to pay for the war and for aid to displaced civilians. “There really isn’t a lack of money,” Smotrich said, according to an article in TheMarker, a business daily published by Ha’aretz. Pressed on whether some war funding would come from the ultra-Orthodox and the settlers, he said, “At least in the war, let’s put populism aside.”

Smotrich’s seeming protection of the special allocations to the ultra-Orthodox and the settler movement isn’t likely to sit well with many Israelis. Impatience with those two groups was rising even before the war. It’s likely even stronger now.

One reason is that nearly half of ultra-Orthodox men don’t work, and the vast majority don’t serve in the army. (The Hamas attack did produce a burst of enlistments.) The ultra-Orthodox have their own school system, funded by the government, that teaches few if any skills needed by the modern work force. The budget passed last spring increases state funding for religious seminaries by at least 50 percent and more than triples funding for the ultra-Orthodox school system, according to an assessment by the Berl Katznelson Center, a political research group.

As for the settlement movement, its rapid expansion in the West Bank, subsidized by the right-wing government, enrages Palestinians as well as Arabs in other countries. (The International Court of Justice has stated that the settlements violate international law — a stance the Israeli government rejects.) Smotrich is one of the settler movement’s strongest supporters. He obtained new powers over civilian life in the West Bank as a condition of joining Netanyahu’s government. He approved construction of thousands more homes in the occupied territories and made it harder for Palestinians to build homes and move around. He has written that his goal is a full Israeli takeover of the West Bank, with Arab residents given local self-governance but no right to vote, at least at first, in national elections.

I just don't get it.

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