Secular Organizations Shocked To Discover That 2.3% Of Israel’s State Budget Goes To Religious Causes

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After an exhaustive investigation, the left-wing Haaretz paper and the Be Free Israel Organization were shocked to discover that the 2016 budget allocated 8.7 billion shekels ($2.3 billion) or 2.3 percent of the 424.8 billion shekel state budget to religious purposes. The cost is spread over many ministries and is thirteen times higher than the amount allocated directly to the Religious Affairs Ministry.

The study was made possible for the first time after the government’s publication of all the special allocations of the 2016 budget. These were never publicized until now.

The investigation found that Justice Ministry grants a million shekels to researchers of Jewish law and that millions of shekels are provided to organizations that provide housing assistance in Tel Aviv for ba’alei teshuvah.

Bayit Yehudi was found to be investing significant government funding to introduce a smattering of Judaism into the secular school system. This led Mickey Gitzin, executive director of Be Free Israel, to rail, “It’s particularly chilling that in economically weak locations, supplementary educational activity is financed by the state through religious organizations.”

7.1 percent of the Education Ministry’s 50.8 billion shekel budget is used for religious purposes. One billion shekels of this goes to support yeshivos and religious institutions, with the largest single sum going to Mir (22 million shekels). Shas’ Maayan Hatorah school network was granted 519 million shekels.

In addition, 170 million shekels of the budget is devoted to religious programs in schools, 142 million shekels to culture, 100 million shekels for avreichim’s stipends, and 16 million shekels for religious youth groups. However, the Education Ministry pointed out that all this comprises a mere 0.3% of its budget.

The Culture Ministry allocates 0.9 percent of its 1.33 billion shekel budget to religious services, and the Ministry for Negev and Galilee Development spends 10 million shekels, or 2.8 percent of its budget, developing religious tourist sites including kivrei tzaddikim.

In addition to the above sums, the study estimated that the government loses 500 million shekels annually by not taxing most organizations that provide religious services.

David Steger – Matzav.com Israel

12 COMMENTS

    • Are you intoxicated? Normal states don’t fund religious activities. Its ironic that people say the state is anti religious. Heres your proof it isn’t.

    • I think it’s less than 30% but definitely more than 2.3%, something like 10-20%. Included in that measly sum are services provided for all Israelis, like kashrus, marriage, burial, and you see how ridiculous that amount is.

  1. We chareidim should get much more. The money comes from America because the orthodox american Jews vote for pro israel politicians. The reform and secular American youth are disconnected from israel

  2. the amount of tourism money & influx of funds from abroad to the isreali economy by the religious community ” the gov best investment ( every sem girl. , avreich,….

  3. #1 Moshe. That’s a great point.
    Additionally, after crunching the numbers, about 4.1 billion shekels is accounted for in the article’s listing of the various ministries. Where are the other 4.5 billion going? “Religious Causes” is a very vague term. Could it be that an equal amount is being spent on Islam, Christianity and other religions? Nothing wrong with that per se, but it should be considered before using this report to bash the religious Jews (which is the purpose, no doubt).

  4. I assume “religious” means Jewish. This interesting analysis is getting me very curious to know how much is allocated to other religions. Indeed there are citizens and taxpayers who are nonjewish and their beliefs must be respected; I also agree with the statement that, to a point, they are entitled to financial support by the democratic state, no different from the democratic state supporting, very partially, the religious Jewish community as well as exclusively chiloni industries such as sports and entertainment. Yet it would be interesting to me, and surely to all taxpayers, and perhaps also to the esteemed committees of Haaretz and Be Free Israel, how much of the state budget goes to other religions and to how much it amounts in proportion.

  5. SHOCKING!! Only 2.3%?? How much is spent on Theater and Entertainment? Surely much more.
    This is a pittance for the States most worthy reason of existence. After all, if not for the study and keeping of the Torah, why are we entitled to the State of Israel? Could have been in Kenya or Nigeria.
    Tourism in Israel is mostly people that come to see the history of the Jewish Nation – not to dance in Tel Aviv or swim in Eilat. Spending on true Torah Judaism is not only a need, but also a wise business decision.

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