After a day of debate, the Knesset held the first reading of Israel’s state budget on Thursday. The reading passed by a majority of 59 to 53.
The Knesset will continue to work on budget-related matters well into this evening.
The budget sets a spending level of NIS 432.3 billion ($131 billion) for 2021 and NIS 452.5 ($141 Billion) billion for 2022.
Israel has not had a new budget in 1.5 years. This is because in 2019 new elections were held with no new government formed. Two more elections were then held.
Without a new government, the Knesset could not pass a new budget. And the coalition formed by Benjamin Netanyahu — now an Opposition Leader — in early 2020 failed to agree on a budget.
Israel’s current governing coalition relies on support from outside the government, from the Ra’am (United Arab) Party and has to fulfill the demands of that party, as well as those of the more right-wing members of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party.