Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Financial Woes Plague Preparations for Papal Visit

The new Israeli government under Binyamin Netanyahu is into its first session and already squabbling with each other over the papal visit, when it was revealed that that the Public Security Ministry has not received most of the money it needs to provide security for the Pope (Israel National News):
The outgoing government under Ehud Olmert set aside NIS 43 million for security for the papal visit, including NIS 6 million for upgrading the infrastructures at tourist sites included in his itinerary.

However, according to Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich, the Finance Ministry has thus far only transferred NIS 5 million for this purpose. Most of this money was earmarked for improvement of roads and infrastructures, and not for security. ... Read More

On a related note, Haaretz reports that Nazareth has yet to receive a single shekel allocated by the government for infrastructure work ahead of Pope Benedict XVI's visit next month!:
The government's failure to hand over the funds - an estimated NIS 20 million to go toward structures including an amphitheater holding 7,500 stone seats and a new road - is delaying the publication of tenders for the infrastructure work, which is obstructing preparations for the mass the pope is slated to conduct in the northern Israeli Arab city.
Even under such extraneous circumstances and financial duress, Mayor Ramiz Jaraisy claims that "we have already completed 50 to 60 percent of the work" (Jerusalem Post).

Given the present situation in the United States we're not exactly in a position to complain about financial mismanagement; still -- let's hope the Netanyahu administration will come through on this one.

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