Action Pondered on Kiryat Arba Accord

The Knesset Finance Committee is scheduled to meet this week to reconsider its decision to cancel the financial allocation to Kiryat Arba, as long as the present coalition agreement with Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach movement is in effect.

The United Kiryat Arba list and the Kach list reached an agreement in Kiryat Arba, a Jewish township adjacent to Hebron, which provides for the mass dismissal of Arab workers employed by that municipality and hiring restrictions based on race. It has been denounced in Israel as tantamount to apartheid.

The Committee decided yesterday not to grant the local municipality 537 million Shekels allocated for Kiryat Arba for the second quarter of this fiscal year. The decision was passed with the support of the majority of Alignment members of the committee as well as one Likud MK, Ariel Weinstein.

But the Committeee’s action drew harsh criticism and opponents charged that it was an anti-democratic measure, and that one could not use the budget to alter political arrangements. Haim Kaufman, Likud Knesset Whip, said there was no justification for a collective punishment of Kiryat Arba, since only 20 percent of its population voted for the list affiliated with Kahane.

Shalom Wach, the Mayor of Kiryat Arba, immediately sent cables to Cabinet ministers, asking that the Finance Committee decision be abolished, because it amounted to clear discrimination against Kiryat Arba. The pressure appeared to work. The committee decided it will reconsider the decision.

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