Shas Coalition Deal Includes Synagogues, Haredi Housing

A report by the Kikar Hashabbat web site purports to show the coalition agreement between the Likud and Shas. According to the report, the government has promised to increase the number of new public housing apartments to be marketed annually to 700, while government planning councils will authorize 5,000 new homes for haredi families each year.

According to the report, a number of the points that appear in Shas's coalition agreement also appear in United Torah Judaism's.

Among Shas's biggest “victories” in the coalition negotiations was extracting a promise from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to support a zero-VAT sales tax bill for basic grocery items, including milk, bread, margarine, etc. While some economists support the idea, others say that the price cut will be temporary – with the 18% initial reduction of prices resulting from the lopping off of VAT costs eventually creeping back up to “normal” levels, but without the government collecting its share.

Shas will be in control of the Religious Affairs Ministry, after Jewish Home desisted from its original demand to appoint a deputy minister. Among the features of this ministry will be control of the rabbinical courts, which in recent governments were under the control of the Justice Ministry. In “exchange,” Shas conceded a deputy minister in the Education Ministry, and will not have a representative there, despite party chairman Aryeh Deri's misgivings that Jewish Home's Naftali Bennett, who will be Education Minister, may not give Shas institutions a “fair shake.”

Among the major budgetary changes will be a NIS 70 million ($18 million) allocation for the construction of synagogues and mikva'ot, or ritual baths. In the previous government, there was no allocation at all for such construction. The money, which will be allocated by the Religious Affairs Ministry, will be mostly distributed in the "periphery" (low-income areas far from the large cities), Shas promises.

In addition, Shas has engineered a revival of the “Nahari law,” which requires local authorities to provide budgets for haredi elementary schools at the same level it funds secular and religious Zionist schools. The law was suspended in 2013, under the last Likud government, after a demand by Yesh Atid.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/195249

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