ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 144

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Smotrich defends boost in funds for settlers, saying they’re used for security against ‘Nazi’ Palestinians

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

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich speaks during a press conference at the Ministry of Finance in Jerusalem on August 9, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich speaks during a press conference at the Ministry of Finance in Jerusalem on August 9, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich tells The Times of Israel that the budget update being sent for cabinet approval today includes NIS 390 million for beefing up security and security infrastructure in the West Bank.

“In the budget that’s being approved today, there is no funding for new construction in Judea and Samaria,” Smotrich says, using the biblical term for the West Bank. Rather, “there is funding for security needs,” among them checkpoints and civilian security squads and the weapons and equipment those teams would need.

“There are 2 million Nazis in Judea and Samaria, who hate us exactly as do the Nazis of Hamas-ISIS in Gaza,” he said, citing a Palestinian poll that indicated stronger support for Hamas’s October 7 terror attack in the West Bank than in Gaza. Hamas, which controls Gaza, killed 1,200 people in Israel and took some 240 into captivity in Gaza Strip on that day, triggering the ongoing war.

Earlier on Monday, the European Union’s de facto foreign minister accused Israel of advancing a budget with fresh funds for West Bank building.

“I’m appalled to learn that in the middle of a war, the Israeli gov is poised to commit new funds to build more illegal settlements,” Josep Borrell wrote on X.

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