Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant and Minister of Economy and Industry Nir Barkat were absent in the Knesset today as the plenum approved the first reading of the law to change the 2023 budget by 62 votes to 53. Barkat had earlier told the Knesset Economic Committee, "I won't support the budget if it doesn't include at least NIS 250 million to save businesses in the south and north from collapse.
National Unity MKs headed by Minister Benny Gantz voted against the budget changes. Last night Gantz turned to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference televised live and called on him to transfer the coalition funds for the benefit of the fighting.
After being approved by the plenum, the budget changes will now go back to the Knesset Finance Committee chaired by MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) for further discussions. The Knesset Finance Committee will this evening already start preparing the bill for its second and third reading in the plenum.
The bill includes an addition to the 2023 budget of NIS 30 billion including NIS 17 billion for defense needs and NIS 13 billion for the needs of the Gaza border settlements.
During Knesset Finance Committee discussions on the budget yesterday, Likud MK Eliyahu Revivo said he would vote against the changes in the budget if there was not a deeper cuts in the coalition funds.
There is anger in the Likud against Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich for refraining from cutting the coalition funds allocated to his party's ministries. Eventually the Likud MKs agreed to support the 2023 budget changes after Smotrich promised to make deeper cuts in the coalition funds for the 2024 budget.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 6, 2023.
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