Cabinet approves budget cut despite Smotrich’s opposition

In an unprecedented move, the Cabinet in its final meeting before the Passover holiday today approved an across-the-board flat budget cut in all ministries, despite resolute opposition by Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich.


The budget cut totaling NIS 225 million was imposed at the demand of Minister of Internal Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, after a bitter struggle with Smotrich. Usually budget cut proposals are submitted to the cabinet by the Minister of Finance. On this occasion Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu submitted the proposal.

The budget cut is to provide money for prisons to house the large number of security prisoners detained since the start of the war. The population of Israel’s prisons has risen by 5,000 since October. Although there was a consensus on the matter, the Ministry of Finance demanded that the Ministry of Internal Security provide a budget for the matter from the large budgetary bonus it received in the revised 2024 budget approved last month.

Two weeks ago, a proposal for an even larger across-the-board cut totalling NIS 576 million, was supposed to be submitted to the cabinet for approval, to be deducted from the 2025 and 2026 state budgets. The vote was postponed at the last minute, and finally a compromise was found, which benefits Ben-Gvir more than Smotrich, by which the Ministry of National Security will receive a budget increase of NIS 450 million. Half of the amount will come from the cut, and the rest from the budget of the Ministry of Defense.

This is not the first time, or even the second time that Ben-Gvir has extracted budget additions from Netanyahu against Smotrich’s wishes – which has already earned the nickname “Ben-Gvir Tax” in the corridors of the Ministry of Finance. Previously, after being badgered by Ben-Gvir, Netanyahu agreed to buy the stability of the coalition for about NIS 1.5-2 billion. That addition, as well as the latest one, comes at the expense of budgets taken from each of the other government ministries, including education, health and welfare. After the decision was approved by the Cabinet, Ben-Gvir publicly scolded Smotrich. He said,”It is a shame that Minister Smotrich continues to be disconnected from security needs and behaves as if the war does not belong to him. I am glad that most of the ministers have shown responsibility and leadership.”

Published by Globes, Israel business news – – on April 18, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

Source link


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button