Israel approves millions in extra funding for Judea and Samaria

The Israeli government on Sunday approved the allocation of an additional NIS 72 million (about $18.6 million) to Judea and Samaria because of “the sensitive security situation”, Israeli media outlets report.

The sum is to supplement a budget of NIS 340 million (about $88 million) agreed upon after last year’s election.

The government explained its decision by pointing to the Jewish communities’ “singular security situation on a daily basis because of their geographic location and the fabric of life in the region”, citing a surge in violent attacks that began in October 2015.

The extra funds include NIS 10 million (about $2.6 million) for the renovation of public buildings; NIS 12 million (about $3.1 million) for creating and operating “resilience centers”, which provide psychosocial and emergency preparedness services; as well as a one-time grant of NIS 15 million (about $3.88 million) for local municipalities. Additional funds are to go towards welfare for at-risk youth and assistance to small businesses.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) praised the decision, saying that “for the first time we will be able to compare the conditions in Judea and Samaria to those in the rest of the country and give budgetary support to creating hotels and motels at central tourist sites”.

In April, Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev set forth new guidelines on government allocations to cultural institutions, enacting a 33 percent cut in government funding to cultural institutions which do not offer performances in the Negev, Galilee, and Judea and Samaria, while offering a 10 percent bonus to those that do perform in the Jewish communities.