Gov’t Approves Additional NIS 11B for Provisional Budget

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ and Finance Minister Yisrael Katz. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/File)

The government approved the addition of NIS 11 billion ($3.23 billion) to the provisional state budget on Thursday morning, in a rare moment of agreement after months of standoff that nearly resulted in early elections and could still trigger a national vote.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yisrael Katz secured Cabinet approval of budgets for special grants for the handicapped, a plan to bring around 2,000 Falash Mura to Israel, an assistance plan for integrating members of the Ethiopian community in Israel, dozens of educational programs for state religious and state education, an increased defense budget, a plan to strengthen and develop the Druze and Circassian sectors, the development and strengthening of settlement in Yehudah and Shomron, assistance budgets for student villages around the country, programs for animals, and more.

Netanyahu, in coordination with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, secured an over NIS 3 billion increase in the defense budget.

The plan does not absolve the government from approving the 2020 budget and submitting it for three Knesset readings by December 23.

Increasing the budget will also enable the government to implement activities that it carries out on an annual basis and which were not possible in the framework of the continuing budgets, such as those in social affairs, employment, immigrant absorption, local authorities and education.

The plan also includes money to help new immigrants to Israel and for renewable energy projects, bicycle lanes and public transportation, animal welfare, food shipments for the needy ahead of the chagim, and support programs for small and medium-sized businesses.

Additionally, a plan was approved formulating expected government expenses and income for the next three years, according to which taxes will have be raised during 2021-2023 and expenses cut to fill a shortfall of NIS 50 billion.

Netanyahu welcomed the move, calling it “important news for all Israeli citizens and needy populations.”