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Illegal Israeli settlements receive highest government spending

Illegal Israeli settlements received the largest budgets of all local municipalities including those within the Green Line, a report issued today revealed.

In its report entitled "Inequality in Central Government Transfers to Municipalities" the Adva Centre said that between 1991 and 2012, government funding of settlements far outweighed that of its funding of Arab neighbourhoods in particular.

In 2012 local municipalities which govern settlements received 2,695 shekels ($747) per capita, while Arab neighbourhoods, which suffer from economic problems and high unemployment, received 2,277 shekels ($630) per capita.

The total government funding for Jewish towns that are economically weak was 1,892 shekels ($524) per capita, while major cities with stronger economies received 1,684 ($466) per capita.

Government funding for local authorities has risen from 746 shekels ($207) per capita in the year 1991 to 2,277 shekels ($630) in the year 2012, according to the report. Arab neighbourhoods, the centre explained, require higher funding because they are not included in other budgets which Jewish communities benefit from. This is especially relevant in the areas of education, additionally because of the high levels of unemployment because there are limited industrial zones in Arab areas offering employment opportunities.

The report said: "Over the last two decades, the population of Israel has grown by 60 per cent. The greatest rate of growth – 240 per cent, was registered in the settlements, where most of growth actually took place in the three Haredi settlements, whose growth rate amounted to 376 per cent, while the rest of the settlements grew by 80 per cent – closer to the overall average."

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