The social-economic cabinet net today for the first time in two weeks, and for only the third time since the outbreak of war. Today’s meeting of the cabinet followed trenchant criticism of the plan proposed by the Ministry of Finance for assisting those who have suffered financial loss as a result of the war, and for supporting the economy in general.
The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, despite the fact that he has transferred powers to run the cabinet to Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich.
Most of today’s meeting was taken up with updating of ministers on the steps that the government is currently taking to support the economy, and not decisions to make the Ministry of Finance plan more effective. This was in accordance with the agenda for the meeting published this morning, on which, despite the war’s impact on the economy, there was only one item "Updates and current matters."
A source who participated in today’s meeting told "Globes" that the ministers pointed out the problems in the plan, such as the fact that loans to large businesses, solutions for daycare, and interest-free repayment holidays for mortgages, were not included in it. The source said that complaints were raised in the cabinet about exhausting bureaucratic procedures, which have not been dealt with properly and which impede aid to those in need od it.
Although the meeting lasted about two hours, no new decision was made at the end of it. Government officials heard the ministers’ claims, and will now try to find solutions.
So far, only one minister who attended the meeting has commented on it. Gideon Sa’ar said after it finished, "I stressed the need to reopen the 2024 budget and to formulate a new budget instead of it. The assumptions on which it was based no longer apply, neither on the spending side nor on the revenues side. Defense spending will have to be expanded dramatically in the coming years, as will the IDF. We have before us an opportunity to draft haredim."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 31, 2023.
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