Having been approved by the Knesset's Economic Committee last week, the budget has now passed second and third readings at the Knesset plenum and is final.
Shortly prior to the vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "On a day we are informed of gas finds, on a day we will shortly pass a second biennial budget, on a day one learns that Israel's economy has grown the most out of any other economy in the Western world and created more than 100,000 work places for Israelis – that is a good day for Israel."
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz addressed Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and said: "Mr. Speaker we present you with a good budget for the State of Israel. A budget of growth, education, periphery, closing gaps, supporting the weak, integrating the haredim and Arabs in the economy and work force.
"Who benefits from this budget? The citizens of Israel and Israel's economy. It benefits working mothers, because we're adding money to day care centers and giving working mothers an additional NIS 500 a month; it benefits the elderly – those who cannot work anymore who have already fortified Israel; it benefits the weaker workers who make minimum wage as it provides bigger allowances and offers negative income tax."
This is the second time the Knesset has approved a biennial budget on a temporary order making the new procedure a pilot program which will only be discussed as a possible regular feature in two years.
Kadima: Shameful display of blackmail
Kadima issued a statement in response: "The state budget that has been okayed has revealed the government's true face. The prime minister is called Eli Yishai, the vice premier is called Ivet (Avigdor) Lieberman and the acting prime minister is called Yaakov Litzman. Netanyahu is not a prime minister, but a shadow of a person who hands out funds to keep his seat.
"The approved budget does not represent the state and its needs but the government and its terms. Israel's citizens have witnessed a shameful display of financial blackmail and lack of leadership and this collective clearance sale has proved that it's over, this government is in its last days."
MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima), chairman of the State Control Committee said: "Today a state budget has been passed by the most cynical government in Israel's history. The budget does not contain funds to handle emergency situations, not for firefighters and not for earthquakes. There are no news, there is mainly a budget whose purpose is to maintain Netanyahu's rule. The prime minister has bought, coaxed and beefed up Knesset members using public funds."
Zvi Lavi contributed to this report
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