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Labor pushback throws wrench in compromise deal to increase campaign funding

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Campaign posters prior to the upcoming Israeli general elections, in Tel Aviv, on March 17, 2021. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Campaign posters prior to the upcoming Israeli general elections, in Tel Aviv, on March 17, 2021. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

A Likud-proposed compromise to increase campaign funding by NIS 30 million ($8.74 million) for the upcoming election hits a stumbling block, as the Knesset’s House Committee decides to separate the funding increase bill from efforts to disperse the Knesset.

Although the coalition and opposition agreed on the funding increase in a late-Monday night compromise, Labor and Yisrael Beytenu party pushback led the committee to make the move.

The funding increase will be assessed by a public panel and delayed for vote until a later date.

Israeli election campaigns are mostly funded by public coffers, as private donations are tightly capped.

Likud MK David Bitan tells the committee that his party needs the funding because four election rounds in quick succession have bled its dry.

“We are facing difficulties after four elections,” says Bitan.

As the largest party in the Knesset with 30 seats, but also one of the few that holds primaries, Bitan says that the Likud has an additional NIS 10 million burden each election cycle.

“We have additional expenses related to democracy, like primaries. We have to spend NIS 10 million just on that,” Bitan tells the committee.

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