Spending last month was restrained by the lack of a 2013 state budget due to the January 22 parliamentary election. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the process of trying to cobble a governing coalition, whose top priority is to approve a budget.
In 2012, Israel recorded a budget deficit of NIS 39 billion ($10.5 billion), or 4.2% of gross domestic product. That was above an initial target of 2% and a revised target of about 3.5%. It also topped 2011's deficit of 3.3% of GDP.
Income from taxes alone totaled NIS 21.4 billion ($5.8 billion) in January, down 9.1% from January 2012.
Israel is targeting a deficit of 3% of GDP in 2013. To meet that aim, the government will need to implement steep spending cuts and possible tax hikes.