Knesset Legal Adviser Knocks Two-Year Budget

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The two-year budget plan proposed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is unjustified by economic conditions and could pose constitutional issues, Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Yinon said Monday, The Jerusalem Post reported.

“There is no global economic crisis, we are not in an election year and we cannot claim that it’s a pilot, because we’ve already tried this a few times,” Yinon told the Knesset Finance Committee, referring to past justifications.

Although Israel has no formal constitution, violating the Basic Law is often referred to as “unconstitutional.” In this case, Yinon cautioned that a two-year budget could be seen as a contravention of Basic Law: State Economy.

“[A two-year budget] weakens the Knesset, and especially that of the opposition, to influence national priorities once a year,” Yinon explained. “It also weakens the opposition’s strength to bring early elections by bringing down the government.”

Netanyahu has been pushing for a two-year budget as a means of stabilizing his government by avoiding the annual squabbles, until 2019.

Knesset Finance Committee chairman Rabbi Moshe Gafni (UTJ) said the panel will add provisions to the budget bill to address the inherent problem of forecasting so far in advance by allowing for changes after the first year.

“My basic stance is that we must have a one-year budget. Every other country does this, except Bahrain, but the prime minister wants a two-year budget…I will make sure there is a balance and limitations on the two-year budget so we can make changes,” he stated.

“Two-year budget” is a misnomer, Rabbi Gafni explained: “It really is two one-year budgets that are approved at the same time.”