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Citizens’ Wealth Fund: Allocation of funds must be according to the law

Disputes over interpretation of the 2014 Citizens' Wealth Fund Law led to monies not going to where they are much needed.

Adam Teva V’Din has filed a petition to the High Court of Justice in regard to the first distribution of monies from the Citizens’ Wealth Fund; a SWF (sovereign wealth fund) set up to handle projected windfall profits arising from the natural gas fields operated offshore, within Israel’s territorial waters. In 2014, a law establishing the fund was passed with the goal of distributing funds from 2017 or whenever a specific threshold was reached.

The Citizens’ Wealth Fund is managed by the Bank of Israel, and allocations of funds are supervised by a special Knesset Committee, in line with provisions in the 2014 law. The first allocations were due for distribution in 2023. However due to disputes on interpretation of the law, the Knesset Committee approved distributions that were not mentioned in the 2014 law and ignored those that were. Monies available for use in 2023 exceed NIS 40 million, for underwriting projects that benefit citizens’ quality of life.

Our interpretation of the law is that the 2023 allocation should be used for promotion of renewable energies and for expanding employment opportunities for Bedouin in the Negev. After a series of intense meetings and written exchanges with the relevant agencies, we filed a petition in June 2023, naming the Knesset, the Government and the Minister of Finance and seeking an interim order cancelling what we believe is an erroneous interpretation of the law.

Adam Teva V’Din believes that the government has a responsibility to act within the constraints of the 2014 Citizens’ Wealth Fund Law and the Finance Ministry must allow the Knesset’s Oversight Committee to follow the letter and spirit of the law. Our case is scheduled to be heard in December 2023.

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Monies available for use in 2023 exceed NIS 40 million, for underwriting projects that benefit citizens’ quality of life.

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