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Knesset passes budget for 2023, 2024 with clear majority

Netanyahu says government now cleared for four years of good work while opposition calls budget the most destructive in country's history; finance minister says bill includes a fight over rising cost of living

Coalition celebrates successful Budget Bill legislation (Photo: Amit Shabi)

After the overnight vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government was now prepared to spend the next four years doing good work.


The budget for 2023 stands at 484 billion shekel and in 2024 it will be 514 billion shekel, the largest in the country's history. 14 billion were allotted to meet commitments made in the coalition agreements, which were criticized by the opposition and include funding for ultra-Orthodox education at double the amount of previous years.



Housing Minister Yitzchak Goldknopf and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir (Photo: AFP)

After the vote, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said funds were allocated to fighting the rising cost of living and would focus on infrastructure, housing, and deregulation to bolster the market economy, although critics claim there are no allocations to limit monopolies.


"Passing a budget will allow us stability in government," Smotrich said. He claimed there would be massive investments in hi-tech and allow funding for the health system, and education.


"The Israeli economy is strong," he said. "It is one of the best and most stable in the world. We've had crisis before and were the first to emerge from them and that is what we will do with this bill," he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Photo: AFP)

Israel's economy came under threat after the government announced its intentions to overhaul the judiciary with laws seen by many as an assault on democracy.


Economists in Israel and abroad warned of the dangers and credit companies considered lowering their projections if the laws were not removed from consideration.


The opposition slammed the bill past with Opposition Leader Yair Lapid calling it the most destructive in the country's history.

 

This article was originally posted on ynetnews.com and can be accessed here.

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