Israeli Parliament Approves Budget for the First Time in Over 3 Years

After a long night at the Knesset, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called the approval a 'day of celebration for Israel,' as parliament gears up to vote on the 2022 budget

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the budget cote in the Knesset
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the budget cote in the Knesset Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

The Knesset narrowly approved the 2021 state budget on Thursday following a long overnight session, marking a key victory for the Bennett-Lapid government and the end of over three years without a budget. 

The law was passed for 2021 with 61 voting in favor and 59 against, and the Knesset will reconvene on Thursday to discuss and vote on the 2022 budget.  

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Two more laws, the Economic Policy Law and the Israeli Economic Recuperation Law were also passed. These laws make up what is known as the 'Arrangements Law,' which is meant to execute reforms related to the state budget.

After a long night at the Knesset, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called the approval a "day of celebration for Israel" adding that it is the most important moment for his government since its establishment.

Over the course of the night, dozens of votes were held on the budget. From the coalition's perspective, the grueling process went smoothly, though former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Shas chairman Arye Dery were among those who mistakenly voted with the government for some votes. 

Before the vote took place, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid addressed the Knesset, saying that "starting tonight the country is no longer on hold, it's back in the right place, where it works for the citizens and not the other way around."

Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman used his time on the rostrum to lament the years in which the budget didn't pass, saying "for three and a half years there was no debate on the budget, and no vote. Everyone understands that this is against the economic interests of Israel." Lieberman went on to blame the delay on former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying he was willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of his personal gain.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, criticized the government and the budget, saying it will "includes taxes against the weaker layers of society, against the orthodox community and against the periphery." 

Leader of the Opposition Benjamin Netanyahu during the overnight Knesset session
Gantz and Bennett in the Knesset during the marathon budget talks
Members of Knesset during the overnight session
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Leader of the Opposition Benjamin Netanyahu during the overnight Knesset sessionCredit: Ohad Zwigenberg
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Gantz and Bennett in the Knesset during the marathon budget talks, todayCredit: Ohad Zwigenberg
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Members of Knesset during the overnight sessionCredit: Emil Salman

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