Cabinet Approves State Budget for 2015-2016

Budget for 2015 set at 329.5 billion shekels; education, health, public security and welfare see increase in budget.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Reuters

Israel's cabinet approved the state budget and the spending plan for 2015-2016, early morning on Thursday.

The budget for 2015 was set at 329.5 billion shekels, and 343.3 billion for 2016, according to a statement released by the Finance Ministry.

The new budget increased the Education Ministry's budget by 4.9 billion shekels, the Health Ministry's by 4.6 billion shekels, the Public Security Ministry's by 1.7 billion shekels, and the Welfare Ministry by 1.3 billion shekels.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that the budget is "balanced, responsible, and cares for growth."

"It takes care of steps that will lower the cost of living. It's a good budget for the State of Israel," Netanyahu said.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon also praised the budget, saying: "We're pushing forward great reforms, the likes of which haven't been seen in many years, in order to generate significant growth."

On Wednesday, Netanyahu told the cabinet that he hoped to combine elements of the Locker report on defense spending with ideas proposed by the army itself, called the Gideon plan, over the next few weeks.

In any event, Netanyahu said, he is determined that the army will, in the coming months, get more than the 56 billion shekels ($14.7 billion) that the treasury is currently proposing for 2016 – which is far less than the 62 billion shekels the defense establishment wants.

The Finance Ministry's statement made no mention of the Defense Ministry's budget.