The Knesset Finance Committee approved on Wednesday cuts to the state budget to the tune of NIS 2 billion (USD 458 million) by a slim margin to finance the war in Lebanon.
Of the nineteen Committee members, the ten coalition MKs voted in favor and their nine opposition colleagues voted against the cuts proposal.
Three Labor MKs – Avishay Braverman, Shelly Yacimovich and Orit Noked - who threatened to vote against the cuts were replaced to ensure the proposal is passed.
"I respect the democratic government," Braverman said.
Finance Committee, Wednesday. Budget cutbacks approved (Photo: Uriel Hershko)
The cuts are aimed at covering compensation of northern business and dwellings affect by 34 days of fighting, replenishing army supplies and paying bonuses for reservists who participated in the fighting.
The proposal split the Labor party and threatened to break up Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's coalition.
"There was a war here, and now we need to care for all those who were affected by it – but there are large surpluses," Braverman said. "What will happen to the State of Israel is spending is raised by 2 percent instead of 1 percent? The deficit will remain lower that that of France, Germany and certainly lower than that of the United States."
Committee member and Kadima MK Shai Hermesh said in response that increasing the deficit by few percentages would not cover the cost of the war which was estimated at tens of billions of dollars.