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Settlement funding: Likud betrays the poor

Over the years, the Likud Party has preferred to grant vast funds to settlements, instead of caring for the weak and poor sectors, which got it to power in the first place.
A bulldozer works at a construction site in Pisgat Zeev, an urban settlement in an area Israel annexed to Jerusalem after capturing it in the 1967 Middle East war, August 13, 2013. A 10-minute drive from where negotiators will sit down on Wednesday to resume long-stalled Middle East peace talks, Israeli bulldozers are busy reshaping land that Palestinians want for their future state.

The poll that aired on Jan. 24 on Israeli TV Channel 10, as well as internal polls presented to the heads of Israel’s parties, indicate that even if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kills Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah with his bare hands and is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Likud Party is far from being the certain winner of the coming elections. The Israeli voter is less preoccupied by security issues, the diplomatic situation or the question of governability than by his/her negative bank balance. In the survey conducted by professor Camil Fuchs for Channel 10, more than half of the respondents (53%) marked “cost of living and welfare” at the top of the agenda that will guide their choice at the ballot box on March 17.

In January 2013, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party hit the jackpot of Knesset seats with its understanding that “it’s the economy, stupid.” The slogan of Lapid’s previous election campaign, “Where’s the money?” has remained as relevant as it was then, perhaps more so, even after the short term he served the Israeli people from the Ministry of Finance. This question is also of interest to police officers of the Lahav 433 unit charged with investigating corruption, who are investigating suspected corruption in the Settlement Division of the Zionist Federation and in the Samaria local council in the West Bank. The police claim they have prima facie evidence of alleged fraudulent money transfers to the council’s coffers. This, of course, was carried out at the general public's expense, including the millions of taxpayers who are far more troubled by their bank balances than by the demographic balance between Jews and Arabs in Israel and the nuclear balance in the Middle East.

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