Monday, August 12, 2013

1968: Budgeting East Jerusalem

Today's document is a wee bit confusing. It was written by Yehuda Tamir, PM Levi Eshkol's man for dealing with East Jerusalem, and it details what the construction for the next year is to be. Except that nowadays, at any rate, that's decided by the Budget Department of the Finance Ministry, and even if the prime minister himself wants to have a certain result, it still goes through the FM, where the locals look at the suggestion balefully before eventually acquiescing (it is the prime minister, after all). Tamir's letter reeks of the confidence of someone who knows that his words, assumed to be those of his boss, will be acted upon.

It's a different world.

Another minor thing you need to keep in mind is that in the late 1960s, Israel's annual budget year ran from April 1 to March 31. An odd system, thankfully done away with for the complications it engendered. Why anyone would maintain such a system is beyond us.

(Yes, we know.)

Anyway. Not only was the budget year odd, they also didn't use Excel in those days, which makes deciphering the budget a bit challenging. I think he's talking about a sum in the excess of 12 million IL, some to come from bank loans, but I may be misreading. The items in the letter are pretty clear. There is to be construction for Jews on Jerusalem's north side, at Givat Hamivtar, French Hill and elsewhere. The planning of what later became East Talpiyot was to be completed so as to begin construction in 1970. The government offices on the road to Mont Scopus are to be promoted.

Yet there was also a budget for Arabs; homes were to be built for Arabs in Wadi Joz and Beit Hanina. The construction at Beit Hanina really did happen and the buildings are still there; I don't know about Wadi Joz.

(File א-7921/3)

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