The Finance Ministry plans to cut at least NIS 1 billion across the board from the state budget in February in order to help fund the Trajtenberg committee recommendations, as well as demands by specific ministries, including the Defense Ministry.
Currently, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to cut NIS 3 billion from the defense budget. If he decides to forgo that measure, as Defense Minister Ehud Barak is pressuring him to do, the across-the-board cut could be NIS 3 billion steeper.
An additional money-saving option includes delaying once again the implementation of a law granting free state education to all children between the ages of 3 and 4. This would be its 28th delay. The committee, headed by Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, which was charged with recommending social and economic reforms in the wake of last summer's cost-of-living protests, had recommended finally implementing the free education law, among others.
Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry is coming up with contingency plans for an economic meltdown. Scenarios under consideration include the dissolution of the euro zone and the world sinking into a worse recession than that of 2008 and 2009. Should this happen, treasury sources predict that the GDP of European nations will plummet by 10% to 20%, and Israeli exports will take a major hit accordingly.
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