Minister ignores national security plea for education funds

Israel’s public broadcaster KAN reported that Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich ignored an appeal from National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi to release NIS200 million earmarked for east Jerusalem development because it included NIS2.5 million in funding for Arab students to participate in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Homesh preparatory course, writes Troy O Fritzhand for The Jerusalem Post.

Hanegbi appealed directly to Smotrich to unfreeze the funds, alluding to a security recommendation that shows that an increase in education in east Jerusalem has led to a reduction of terrorism in the city, the report said. According to Smotrich, however, the integration of east Jerusalem residents has led to an uptick in nationalism and extremism.

The government plans to establish a committee to discuss alternative uses of the funds, including allocating the money to boost employment of east Jerusalemites, Smotrich said. “Unfortunately, in recent years we have witnessed nationalist extremism within the universities,” he said.
Full report on The Jerusalem Post site