Budget approved, ‘significant additions to health, education and welfare’

The 2019 state budget, approved by the Knesset Finance Committee, “has very significant additions to health, education and welfare.”

By: World Israel News Staff

The Knesset’s Finance Committee on Monday evening approved the state budget for 2019, and it will now be transferred to the Knesset plenum for final approval in its second and third readings.

The Knesset approved the 2019 State Budget last month in its first reading by a vote of 61-51.

The proposed budget for next year will stand at NIS 479.6 billion, an increase of 4.3 percent compared to the 2018 budget, and an increase of 24.9 percent compared to the 2015 budget.

The projected growth for 2019 will be 3.1 percent.

The accompanying Economic Arrangements Law was approved by the Finance Committee last Thursday.

The final approval of the budget in the Finance Committee was reached after all the reservations submitted by the opposition were rejected.

Finance Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafni said the budget “is a good budget for civil society and for the economy. The budget has very significant additions to health, education and welfare.”

“While this budget does not offer solutions to several issues we wished to address, there are definitely some things like the increase in the health budget, which are important news,” he noted.

The budget includes NIS 63 billion for defense, NIS 60 billion for education and NIS 38 billion for health.

The 2019 budget contains a NIS 120 million increase in the budget for payments to Holocaust survivors, half of which will go to equalizing payments between widows and widowers whose spouses died before 2011 and the other half to equalize payments to those getting money from Germany and from Israel.

Among the reforms included in the budget are increased competition in the television market, shortening the working week, a reform for shortening school vacations and encouraging integration in the labor market through work grants.

The budget is being discussed well in advance, as 2019 is slated to be an election year in Israel and the government is seeking to finalize the bill to ensure economic stability.