Knesset successfully passes 2023-2024 budget after overnight blitz

“This government will last all four of its years,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the final vote.

By World Israel News Staff

The Knesset passed the 2023-2024 state budget after an all-night vote, with a final approval vote of 64-55 occurring at around 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

Opposition lawmakers presented numerous objections to the budget, slowing down the voting process, but the coalition parties managed to approve the last aspects of the budget before dawn.

Had the budget not passed by May 29th, the Knesset would have automatically been dissolved, triggering a fresh round of national elections.

“This government will last all four of its years,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the final vote.

The vote came after coalition infighting, which saw the ultra-Orthodox Agudat Israel and the Otzma Yehudit party headed by Public Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir threaten to vote against the budget and topple the government, should they not receive additional funds.

Netanyahu conceded to their demands and awarded both the parties hundreds of millions of shekels in state funds, which had not been originally included in the budget.

“This is a good budget, it will serve the citizens of Israel,” said Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich following the approval.

The budget will “provide stability and certainty to the economy, Smotrich continued, adding that the coalition was targeted by “enormous pressure from interested parties, irresponsible strikes and media campaigns” ahead of the vote.

Fortunately, Smotrich said, the government “did not capitulate.”

During the all-night debate on the Knesset floor, protesters outside of the building demonstrated against the large allocations made to the ultra-Orthodox community, including stipends for yeshiva students and funding for religious schools that exclusively focus on Torah studies and do not teach the core curriculum.

Ben-Gvir said the budget marked a “new dawn” for Israel and noted that his party secured “a 9 billion shekel ($2.4 billion) increase for the National Security Ministry, just as we promised – a raise of some 20 percent for police officers, the recruitment of thousands of officers and prison guards, and the establishment of a national guard, along with great tidings for residents of the Negev and Galilee.

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid released a statement bemoaning the new budget.

“While you were sleeping, [the coalition] passed the worst, most destructive budget in the history of the country,” he said in a statement to the media.

Read  Report: Netanyahu will meet with Biden this month at UN

“It brings no fresh tidings, no attempt to fight the cost of living – just endless extortion. This budget is a violation of the contract with the citizens of Israel, and our children and children’s children will pay for it.”