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Israel ratifies the budget: coalition dispute defuses

Israel ratifies the budget: coalition dispute defuses

Today, the Israeli Parliament approved the current and next year’s budget, ensuring the continued existence of Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing religious government. The budget was approved in the latest reading, according to a spokesperson for Netanyahu’s party, Likud.

Previously, there had been disagreements within the coalition over the distribution of funds for weeks. According to the Knesset, the total budget will be about 484 billion shekels (about 120 billion euros) for 2023 and about 514 billion shekels (about 130 billion euros) for 2024.

“We’re going to go on for a good four years.”

After the vote, Netanyahu said, according to media reports, “We’re going to go on for a good four years.” If the budget had not been passed by 29 May, Parliament would have dissolved automatically. It was necessary to hold new elections. In the past, several governments have failed to pass the budget.

Before the vote, several coalition partners threatened not to vote on the budget. Among other things, far-right Police Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and religious coalition partners demanded more money for their regions. Netanyahu finally reached an agreement with the individual parties shortly before the final vote.

Demo against more money for the ultra orthodox

Thousands demonstrated in Jerusalem yesterday evening against allocating more money to religious Israelis. They protested against the “looting” of public money. Opposition leader Jair Lapid also criticized the distribution of funds, describing it as devastating. The budget reinforces the dependence of parts of the population on the state.

Reuters/Eland Rosenberg

He refers to the larger sums that are provided to the ultra-Orthodox groups. Only some of them take an active part in working life. Many young people devote themselves primarily to religious studies instead.

Netanyahu’s right-wing religious coalition has a majority of 64 out of 120 seats in parliament. The far right-wing government in Israel’s history was sworn in late last year.

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