Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) seen during a vote at the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament during the state budget vote for 2017-2018.

The Knesset has approved a new two-year budget, covering the fiscal years of 2017 and 2018, in a vote of 60-48.

The nearly NIS 1 trillion ($261 billion) economic package (NIS 907 billion) comes with a 2.9 percent deficit target, and was passsed following approval by the Knesset Finance Committee on Tuesday.

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It was passed after the second and third reading approval of the Economics Arrangement Law.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon expressed satisfaction with the approval. “The budget is a social one,” he said, “a budget that helps the entire population. It reduces social gaps, increases public spending, cuts taxes and … in general, emphasizes social ministries.”

Kahlon said the budget would trim down the price of housing in Israel, which has doubled since 2007, making it nearly impossible for new immigrants, young couples and people past the age of 50 to buy a home. But as usual, defense spending took center stage as the largest single expense is that of defending the country, at a cost of more than NIS 70 billion per year.

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