The Municipal Committee is in charge of allocating amounts to non profit organizations such as Sport, Culture Religious and Charity organizations. In its last session, the committee discussed changes of the criteria for supporting Synagogue construction and renovations. Up to now, the cumulative amount allocated to each Synagogue was 800,000 Shekel. This criteria was decided in early ’90s and then represented 40% of the cost of building an average Synagogue. The representatives of the Religious United Party asked to increase the support to reflect the costs of 2010 – to One Million Shekels

Regarding existing Synagogues the Committee recommended a new budget allocation of 200,000 Shekel for accessibility renovations in existing Synagogues such as elevators, accessible toilets, etc. This amount – together with the budget frame of 800,000 Shekel for renovations – will enable each existing Synagogue to also reach a maximum cumulative amount of One Million Shekel as well

The Committee’s decision was not unanimous. The Meretz representative vehemently opposed the proposed decision. However the other parties who – together with Meretz – are members of the municipal coalition expressed a loud and clear favorable opinion. Since the early ’90s when the existing amount was decided, the building cost index had almost tripled itself. Moreover, new regulations have added to the cost of new buildings and therefore it is time to increase the maximum cumulative amount

The Committee’s recommendation will be voted upon during the next City Council meeting and is anticipated to be approved by majority vote. It will be interesting though to see how Meretz will vote as they are members of the Municipal coalition