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November 4, 2021 11:00 am

Israel’s Parliament Passes 2021 State Budget in 61-59 Vote

avatar by i24 News

A general view shows the plenum at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem, May 29, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

i24 News – Israeli lawmakers early Thursday morning passed the first state budget in more than three-and-a-half years by a vote of 61 to 59 in a key test for the coalition government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

The last state budget was signed into law on March 15, 2018.

Bennett took to Twitter to praise the Knesset vote, calling passage of the 2021 state budget a “holiday for the State of Israel.”

“After years of chaos — we have formed a government. We overcame the delta. And now, God willing, we have transferred a budget to Israel! Continue forward with all your might,” he wrote.

The $194 billion (NIS 609 billion) spending plan passed despite fierce opposition led by former prime minister and leader of the opposition Benjamin Netanyahu, who mistakenly voted with the coalition.

If the budget wasn’t passed by the November 14 deadline then the government would have been dissolved and new elections triggered — the fifth round since April 2019.

MKs are expected to reconvene on Thursday to vote on passage of the Economic Arrangements Bill and the 2022 state budget.

The budget includes a five-year funding plan amounting to $10 billion (NIS 32 billion) for economic and social development and to fight crime in the country’s Arab sector, which the Arab Ra’am party led by MK Mansour Abbas said was a condition for their support.

The coalition was given a little cushion when the Joint List, a predominantly Arab Israeli party, decided not to join the opposition and instead voted for the budget.

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