September 13

👉🏽 Maariv reporting that rumors circulating about a unity government (Gantz and Likud) in formation, with both Smotrich and Ben Gvir threatening to topple the government if the reports, which initiated in the Palestinian press, of an arms transfer, including 1500 rifles and ten armored vehicles, to the Palestinian Authority are true. Likud Defense Minister Yoav Galant’s office flatly denied the arms transfer reports. PM Netanyahu’s office blamed it on the last (Bennett-Lapid) government, which promptly denied it.

👉🏽 Jewish Power National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir butted heads with Attorney-General Gali Baharav Miara in a discussion about Ben Gvir’s insistence on tightening prison rules, despite the chance that this would lead to dangerous escalation. Baharav Miara pointed out that the decision needed to be discussed by the full cabinet; Ben Gvir accused her of not reading the law on the topic. Miara: “You really have to believe me that I read the law.” Ben Gvir: “This is a recommendation and you are an adviser. You don’t decide and I don’t want to hurt you.” Miara said her statement is binding. Ben-Gvir: “It is not binding, it is a recommendation. But the story here is not you, but the prime minister.”

PM Netanyahu said the matter would be tabled until after the holidays. Ben Gvir: “Enough with the excuses! If you are not going to implement the policies we promised, then come and say so. All the time it’s after the holidays, and after the holidays there is also Hanukkah... we have reached the moment when we have to make a decision.” Palestinians are rioting on the Gaza Strip in protest of the latest prisoner restrictions imposed by Ben Gvir.

PS The cabinet met, and no prison changes until after the holidays, when they’ll reassess.

More from yesterday’s Supreme Court marathon:

👉🏽 Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut: “We can’t nullify Basic Laws every other day. There needs to be a mortal blow to the basic tenets of the state as a democratic state.”

👉🏽 Government attorney Ilan Bombach: “Because 37 people were authorized to sign the hasty Declaration of Independence, which was still being drafted until the last moment, this should obligate people who came later?”

👉🏽 “The political right demands that the court treat the Basic Laws as an unassailable constitution, but itself treats them as flash-in-the-pan legislation.” Haviv Rettig Gur in Times of Israel

On other fronts:

👉🏽 JPost reporting on the court halting a Shas-organized food stamp program, because benefits are going disproportionately to Haredi families, rather than other poor of Israel.

👉🏽 The Knesset’s Finance Committee transferred NIS 736 million ($193 million) from other government budgets, allocating NIS 480 million ($126 million) instead to Haredi education, including (according to Maariv) 123 million for Torah Judaism; 115 million for Shas; 96 million for settlement education; and 12 million for Jewish culture (ultra-orthodox associations). The budgets slashed to accommodate this included NIS 327,000 ($85,000) for Holocaust survivors, NIS 22 million ($5.8 million) for childcare subsidies, NIS 18 million ($4.7 million) and for disabled care, according to Times of Israel, with Maariv also noting cuts from National Security, and 131 million from the Ministry of Defense.
An additional NIS 3.7 billion ($970 million) was allocated for increasing the stipends of yeshiva students.

👉🏽. Maariv reporting demonstrations across the country because a Haredi yeshiva student (Ponibiz) was arrested when he failed to report to the army recruiting office. The Haredi exemption bill goes before the Knesset September 21.

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