Yesterday evening the Tel Aviv - Yafo municipal council voted for the budget proposal for the year 2010:
The coalition praised themselves for their great sensitivity and the wonderful budget proposal. That included Jaffa council member Ahmad Mashrawi (Meretz) who, like the total bunny he is, voted in favour of a budget in which the south of the city, Jaffa included, continues to be discriminated against.
Mashrawi, who just loves publicity, claims to vote in favour of Jaffa but the facts show the opposite. Meretz are part of the coalition and their current track record is highly embarrassing.
The outnumbered opposition (to Ron Hulday's wide coalition) asked to vote separately on a number of clauses, in order to try and make at least a few improvements and do some social justice:
Omar Siksik of the Jaffa list asked to vote separately for an added 200.000 NIS for the Jaffa based "Hirsh" early childhood development center.
The Hirsch centre provides testing and treatment for development problems for children at a young age. The centre is highly professional and the only service of its kind in the whole city able to provide these services in Arabic. The centre's very existence is threatened due to the continued budget cuts. The implication of the centre's closure or limited ability to provide services is obvious: Parents will not be able to provide their young children with the most basic services. Not even privately (the majority would not have the money for that in any case) as their is no alternative in all of the city for Arabic speaking young children.
Mashrawi (Meretz, that supposedly socially conscious party, now part of the coalition, what will people do for a little money) has been posing as the big fighter for the Hirsch centre, but reality is rather different as he did NOT vote in favour. He abstained, what a hero!
A city that spends 70 million NIS on a bicycle rental project does not have 1.100.000 for the Hirsch center, or 55.000 for the teenage health clinic, which will receive 0 money in 2010.
Or, another example: the Toulouse Club for the elderly, the only one serving Jaffa's elderly Palestinian population in Ajami, has an annual budget of 70.000 NIS. Its sister club in Neve Golan (Yafo Gimmel) which serves that area's Jewish population receives 220.000 NIS in the budget. I am in favour of Neve Golan's budget. But Why does the Ajami Club for elderly Arabic speakers receive so little?
And these are only a few examples. I could go on and on and on. The budget is highly biased.
Tel Aviv is positioning itself as a city for the wealthy only, disregarding its poorer inhabitants. In addition the 2010 budget is totally greenwashed. More and more car parks and highways.
It was embarrassing to see Peer Wisner (the Green Party also in the coalition) vote in favour of the budget. What a little money does to these "freedom fighters".