Papal visit gives Netanyahu government its first crisis

Monday, April 06, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on Sunday complained that not nearly enough money has been allocated by the Finance Ministry to provide adequate security during the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Holy Land.

The pope is scheduled to arrive in Israel next week. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert approved a budget of over $10 million to upgrade infrastructure in the areas he will visit and secure those areas from possible terrorist threats.

But Aharonovitch said the new government had thus far only paid a little over $1 million toward the visit, just enough to repair roads in the regions where the pope will travel.

The Finance Ministry responded that it had yet to decide where the money will be drawn from to pay for security during the papal visit. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz to meet with Aharonovitch to reach a quick solution to the problem.

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