The Knesset plenum dispersed Monday night without discussing the government's financial rescue plan for Israel's coronavirus-battered economy, potentially causing delays to grants scheduled to be transferred to the public by Wednesday.
Knesset Speaker MK Yariv Levin locked the plenum and said that the government promised to provide a version of the bill by 4pm so it would be able to discuss amendments in parallel to the legislation's first reading.
Currently, the intention is to raise the law tomorrow for the first reading, and on Wednesday for the second and third readings,
The plan is scheduled to go up for first hearing on Tuesday, and on second and third readings on Wednesday.
However, such a law requires the support of a special majority of 61 lawmakers in the 120-strong Knesset, as opposed to regular legislation which only requires a majority among the attendants at the plenum. Some ministers are expected to struggle to attend the plenum on Tuesday due to schedule obligations.
If the law is not approved by Wednesday, the grants that Finance Minister Israel Katz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented at a press conference last Thursday will be delayed.
The plan includes expanding the number of people eligible for unemployment benefits, adaptation grants for people aged 67 and over, assistance to self-employed workers and businesses, and a number of tax breaks.
The plan includes a social safety net for waged and self-employed workers and a financial safety net for businesses until June 2021 in order to guarantee economic certainty for the coming year. The government would also provide training for individuals making a career change to "coronavirus-era professions".
Netanyahu also promised that grants of up to NIS 7,500 ($2,250) will be transferred to self-employed workers and business owners in the coming days.
The veteran prime minister also said that he and his government will devise additional financial and health plans in the coming weeks and that Israel's powerful economy allowed the country to take loans with low-interest rates.
Ministers had also approved a draft bill to expand the budget framework for the years 2020-2021 by NIS 24 billion for the expansion and implementation of the plan.
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid criticized Netanyahu after the plan's presentation, denouncing the premier's statements as "hollow words."
"Netanyahu's comments on the economy are hollow words and will not stand the test of time," Lapid said. "Most of the public is still waiting for their two previous payments. Let us hope that this time will be different."