What Will New MKs Do With 19th Knesset’s Economic Proposals?

Now that the 20th Knesset has been elected, what will happen to proposed economic changes laid out in the Economic Arrangements Bill?

Zvi Zrahiya
Zvi Zrahiya
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A JNF tree planting center.
A JNF tree planting center.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Zvi Zrahiya
Zvi Zrahiya

The early elections held Tuesday were called before the 19th Knesset passed the 2015 budget. Now that the 20th Kneset has been elected, what will happen to proposed economic changes laid out in the Economic Arrangements Bill, the supplementary legislation that accompanies the budget?

Some may be delayed or scaled back due to opposition from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and his future coalition partners, but the new coalition may push others through.

Based on the assumption that four of the other coalition partners will be Habayit Hayehudi, Yisrael Beiteinu, United Torah Judaism and Shas, changes opposed by Likud are unlikely to pass. This will likely remain the case even if Moshe Kahlon’s center-right Kulanu party is part of the government.

Proposed changes that have not been passed include the Jewish National Fund’s transfer of 1 billion shekels (about $250 million) to the government. Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu opposed requiring the transfer by law and conducted negotiations over a voluntary payment by the organization, but those plans never came to fruition.

Other proposals include reining in the activities of private hospitals and imposing a tax on medical treatment provided to non-Israelis. But United Torah Judaism’s Yaakov Litzman is thought likely to head the Health Ministry — and to oppose those changes.

Also at issue is the status of the World Zionist Organization’s settlement division, which Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber has recommended be shut down and its authority transferred to the government.

On the other hand, the efforts by former Communications Minister Gilad Erdan of Likud to shut down the Israel Broadcasting Authority and replace it with a new agency is expected to be pursued by the new government.

Other changes up for consideration include restructuring the ports and the Israel Electric Corporation.

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