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Israel: Cabinet Starts 1st State Budget Debate in 3 Years

Israel: Cabinet Starts 1st State Budget Debate in 3 Years

Sunday, 1 August, 2021 - 13:15
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gestures as he speaks during his Yamina party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem July 5, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Israeli cabinet ministers on Sunday began debate on the 2021-2022 state budget, more than three years after the government last approved a fiscal spending package.


Due to two years of political stalemate and four elections, Israel is using a pro-rated version of the 2019 state budget that was passed in March 2018. A new government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a former software entrepreneur, took office in mid-June and unseated Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 years in office.


Debate is expected to be long and a vote could come in the early hours of Monday, Reuters reported.


Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman told reporters ahead of Sunday's cabinet meeting that he was confident the budget was a good one and ultimately would be approved.


Parliament -- in which Bennett has a razor-thin majority -- is expected to take its initial vote in early September with final approval for the 14-month budget slated for early November.


Israeli media have reported that ministers are seeking 14 billion shekels ($4.3 billion) of further spending.


"Everyone is justified but there is not enough money for everyone. It's impossible to please everyone," Lieberman said.


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