They agreed on the Israeli budget after Netanyahu secured support for the coalition
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has managed to pass a two-year state budget after overcoming divisions within his coalition of far-right and religious parties.
Parliament voted the 1 billion shekel spending package in the early hours of Wednesday after Netanyahu struck a deal with two factions that had threatened to withhold support for the budget if their demands for more funding were not met.
The final package included billions of shekels for Israel’s fast-growing and fervently religious haredi community, whose leaders are key allies of Netanyahu, funding for settlements in the occupied West Bank considered illegal by most of the international community, and the creation of a new National Guard. ultranationalist minister of national security, Itamar Ben-Gvir.
Hailing the passage of the budget – which calls for spending of Sh484 billion in 2023 and Sh514 billion in 2024 – as the “dawn of a new day”, Netanyahu said his government’s priority now was to reduce the cost of living in Israel, where inflation reached 5 percent. percentage.
Asked by Channel 14 News if his government would now return to a controversial judicial overhaul it postponed in March after one of the biggest protests in Israel’s modern history, Netanyahu said, “Of course.”
Opposition leaders hastily warned of a resumption of judicial reform, and Benny Gantz, leader of the National Unity party, accused the prime minister of being “drunk on power again.”
“I will remind Netanyahu that it is stupid to repeat the same move and expect a different result,” he tweeted, pledging to resume protests if the court review returns.
The adoption of the budget – without which early elections would have started – was celebrated by Netanyahu’s coalition partners, according to Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, it would “give stability and certainty to the economy”. Ben-Gvir said the budget agreement brought “a lot of good news”.
But opposition politicians would deplore the spending package because it did too little to curb inflation and channeled significant resources into the ultra-Orthodox education system.
Funding for the Haredi education system is a particular point of contention for secular Israelis, as ultra-Orthodox schools are not required to teach basic subjects such as English and math, and students spend most of their time studying Torah.
Critics say the measures will discourage haredi men – only half of whom work and almost none serve in the military – from seeking employment. This will place an increasing burden on the Israeli state budget over time, as the Haredi share of the Israeli population is projected to increase from the current eighth to about a third by 2065.
“While you were sleeping, the worst and most destructive budget in the history of the country was passed. There is no good news. . . just endless blackmail,” Yair Lapid, leader of the largest opposition party, Yesh Atid, wrote on Twitter.
“This budget is a violation of the contract with the citizens of Israel, which we, our children and our children’s children will continue to pay.”