Smotrich Plans Generous Budget Despite Constraints

By Shmuel Smith

Religious Zionist party head MK Betzalel Smotrich, Israel’s Finance Minister-designate. Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

YERUSHALAYIM – Finance Minister-designate Betzalel Smotrich is planning a “generous” budget for yeshiva students and Israel’s poor, Globes reported on Monday.

Although Smotrich has not finalized plans – he’s still in the early meeting stage with senior Ministry of Finance officials – some of the broad outlines have emerged:

A billion shekels to pay for food vouchers for the needy, a significant raise in stipends to kolel yungeleit, 7 billion shekels for the Ministry of National Security and police salaries, and measures aimed at reducing the cost of living for everyone.

Smotrich reportedly will not raise taxes, relying on the high state revenues from the past year, and then expanding the next state budget to take inflation into account.

Signaling a realistic approach, with an eye on the spending ceiling, Smotrich noted that “there will be constraints and we will present alternative,” though he didn’t specify.

A preelection promise for a Free Education Bill for infants aged 0-3 will likely have to wait until the next budget, or be introduced in stages, Globes said.

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