Jewish Home has been working hard to restore funding to Religious Zionist institutions that were slashed in the previous government – and observers said that the party had succeeded in doing so. With the official 2015-2016 State Budget ready for approval, observers who ready the weighty tome have determined that budget allocations to nearly all Religious Zionist educational and communal enterprises have grown significantly.
For example, about NIS 9.5 million ($2.7 million) is being allocated to Religious Zionist youth activities, such as Bnei Akiva groups. A new outreach project to provide assistance for community youth who have “gone off the religious path” is being budgeted for NIS 3 million ($800,000).
An additional NIS 2 million ($550,000) is being allocated specifically for youth from families that have emigrated from Ethiopia and are studying in state religious schools or private Religious Zionist high schools and post-high school programs.
Millions of shekels are also being allocated for programs to promote Judaism and Jewish identity. The Jewish Identity Authority, which designs and runs programs for schools in Israel and abroad, is receiving NIS 11.6 million ($3.8 million), while NIS 7 million ($1.85 million) is being allocated to the Maale film school, which teaches movie-making and production skills to observant students. In addition, NIS 4 million ($1.15 million) is being allocated to programs providing guidance to religious women who need assistance in getting pregnant.
In addition, the budget shows that a proposed cut in funding for religious pre-military academies, which many graduates of Religious Zionist high schools attend before joining the IDF, has been averted – and the schools have been allocated an additional NIS 10 million ($2.8 million).