ישיבת ממשלה
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz making his way to the cabinet meeting
Photo: Emil Selman
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Alternative Prime Minister Yair Lapid during the cabinet meeting

Israel advances state budget for first time in 3 years

After a meeting that lasted almost 24 hours, ministers agreed on the final touches in a meeting between Bennett and heads of coalition factions; Health Ministry will get additional NIS 2B after Horowitz conditioned passing of the budget on the increase

Itamar Eichner |
Published: 08.02.21, 09:01
Cabinet ministers on Monday unanimously approved its the 2021-2022 state budget, the first fiscal spending package okayed by the government in the past three years.
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  • Due to two years of political stalemate and four elections, Israel has been using a pro-rated version of the 2019 state budget that was passed in March 2018.
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    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Alternative Prime Minister Yair Lapid during the cabinet meeting
    (Photo: Emil Selman)
    The cabinet meeting began on Sunday morning and resumed in the evening following an afternoon break. Shortly after midnight Prime Minister Naftali Bennett convened the heads of factions in the coalition to agree on the final aspects of the budget.
    The most contentious point in the draft appeared to the Health Ministry's share of the budget, which Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz demanded to be higher than what was offered in the original proposal in the wake of the upcoming ministry's overhaul he plans to carry out.
    Following nighttime discussions, it was agreed the Health Ministry will receive an additional two billion shekels.
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    Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz making his way to the cabinet meeting
    (Photo: Emil Selman)
    On Monday morning, the Health Ministry published the main points of the reform, which include: revamp of the mental health system, increasing the healthcare basket to NIS 600 million, allocation of six additional MRI machines to communities in the periphery, allocation of additional NIS 500 million for public hospitals and "immediate" shortening of medical interns' shifts.
    Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Monday welcomed the pproval, saying the country was "getting back on track".
    "We're finally getting the country back on track — there is going to be a budget for health, defense, education, welfare, transportation, there will be a budget that will be invested in the citizens of the country," he tweeted.
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    Lapid and Liberman arrive for the cabinet meeting
    (Photo: AP)
    "Thank you to my government partners who have shown responsibility and determination and worked together for a common goal, for the future of the country's citizens."
    Following the cabinet's approval, the budget will now be tabled for the Knesset plenum.
    Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman told reporters ahead of Sunday's cabinet meeting that he was confident the budget was a good one and ultimately would be approved.

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