Israeli ministry fighting BDS to see budget slashed by over half

The ministry sent a letter of protest over the decision to cut its budget.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel’s ministry of strategic affairs and public diplomacy is fighting for its budgetary life as the ministry of finance plans to cuts its funding by over half, Israel Hayom reports on Sunday.

The paper reports that the finance ministry will shrink the strategic affairs’ budget by 60% over last year. Instead of 96 million shekels it received in 2019, it will receive only 39 million for 2020.

Likud MK Gilad Erdan, who heads the ministry, sent an angry letter to the finance ministry blasting the slashing of his budget. The letter was obtained by Israel Hayom.

“The office of strategic affairs led for the last four years the struggle against the campaign of delegitimization and boycotts against the State of Israel,” he wrote.

“The office succeeded to narrow and to shrink the activities of the boycott organizations and their financing, by means of exposing their terror ties and their anti-Semitic nature.

“Not for nothing delegitimization organizations themselves describe 2019 as one of their toughest years, and blame the office of strategic affairs as the one who stands at the front of the activities against them. The meaning of this budget (39 million shekels for the year 2020) is the cancellation of many activities.”

Erdan said the reduced budget constitutes a “strategic danger” to Israel given the international challenges it faces. It will leave the ministry close to a state of non-function, he wrote.

The minister also emphasized that the Trump peace plan, which allows for the application of Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, will lead to a counter-reaction on the part of anti-Israel activists and the ministry requires resources to deal with them.

Erdan also referred to the recent decision by the International Criminal Court at the Hague, which is poised to launch a war crimes probe against Israel. Erdan said the ministry required resources to deal with such matters.

Yuval Shany, an expert on international law at the Israel Democracy Institute, told the Associated Press that annexation would “significantly” raise the risk of triggering prosecution at the ICC.