Finance Ministry approves NIS 22 million package to cash-strapped Sderot
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Finance Ministry approves NIS 22 million package to cash-strapped Sderot

Mayor David Buskila ends hunger strike as long-awaited financial aid is promised

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

File photo of the southern Israeli city of Sderot (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)
File photo of the southern Israeli city of Sderot (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

The Finance Ministry and Interior Ministry on Sunday formulated a financial aid package for the cash-strapped and rocket-battered town of Sderot.

The government proposal, which would provide Sderot with NIS 22 million ($5.6 million), was signed by Finance Ministry Director General Amram Kalaji, Finance Ministry Deputy Director of Budgeting Reuven Kogan, and Sderot Mayor David Buskila.

Buskila had been hunger striking since Wednesday in order to get the government to support a recovery program for his town, which has been buffeted by rocket attacks for the last decade. The program, signed by Buskila in December 2011, involved cutting the town’s budget and accepting the oversight of a Finance Ministry auditor in exchange for millions of shekels in aid. The municipality said it fulfilled its part of the program and that the state pledged to fund the rest, but has yet to follow through.

According to Buskila, the municipality had only received only NIS 7 million out of NIS 70 million in aid money allocated for it under the recovery program.

“It’s impossible to ignore the economic situation in Sderot and other outlying towns. I am glad that a solution has been formulated that allows essential funds to be transferred to the town,” Interior Minister Eli Yishai said. “I fully hope that these funds will assist Sderot’s advancement and provide for the needs of the town and its inhabitants’ future.”

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz praised the resolution of Sderot’s financial woes and said the government will continue to work to assist the residents of southern Israel financially.

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