Regev opposes cuts in funding for lottery activities, arguing that such money is used to build schools, kindergartens, and other facilities that contributed towards Yarden Rerbi’s recent Olympic victory.

Photo Credit: Flash 90

In an interview with IDF Radio this morning, Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who is in Rio, celebrated Yarden Gerbi’s victory: “I have no intention of jumping on the podium. I am proud of Yarden. I was sure that we would have good achievements. We have excellent athletes.”

Regev connected the athletic achievements to the Finance Ministry’s intention to cut funding for lottery activities: “I always struggle to invest more money so I worked to prevents cuts in funding for Toto, the main body that finances athletic achievements and facilities in the periphery. It is important to clarify that I am against any form of gambling, both illegal and legal, but as soon as they reduce it legally, the illegal gambling is enlarged. Let’s be realistic.”

Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon claims that the money obtained from horse racing and slot machines is “dirty” but Regev emphasized that these funds are used to build schools, kindergartens, and other facilities: “Let’s say we will cancel Toto and the lottery, the finances will build themselves from the facilities, we will establish a police unit to enforce the law in the underworld and gambling will be illegal?   If so, I struggle with this but we know the Finance Ministry won’t do this.”

Regev stressed that she will oppose such a move: “The struggle will be in the Knesset and I have no intention of allowing cuts to Toto to pass. It won’t be a simple decision. I am committed to government decisions but the committee will discuss it and usually, there are changes.”