Knesset passes state budget at first reading

Minister of Finance Yair Lapid responded fiercely to his critics just before the 1 am vote.

At nearly 1 am this morning, the Knesset plenum gave a first reading to the state budget for 2013-2014 and to the accompanying Economic Arrangements Bill. 58 Knesset members voted in favor of the budget, against 44 who voted against. Coalition MK Gila Gamliel (Likud-Beytenu) asked not to participate in the vote, and left the Knesset chamber.

Just before the vote, Minister of Finance Yair Lapid rose to speak, and to answer those who had attacked him during the session. Turning to leader of the opposition Shelly Yachimovich (Labor), who had criticized the budget in a very forthright speech, Lapid said, "You could have stood here instead of me as minister of finance and presented your budget, but you were afraid and would not accept the responsibility, because it's much easier to sit on the sidelines. You Labor party members, check how many times you raised VAT. When you're in government, it's fine; when you're in opposition, it's a disaster."

Lapid also turned on MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), saying, "For years, there was robbery of the public purse, and you were one of its planners."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on June 18, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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