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Controversial budget proposal submitted to Knesset

CM 31/08/2021

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The state budget for the next two years and its accompanying arrangements bill were officially submitted to the Knesset for the first time since 2018 on Tuesday, Knesset secretary Yardena Muller Horowitz announced in the plenum. 
The arrangements will come to a vote in their first reading on Thursday in a special session of the Knesset plenum, where they currently lack a majority, due to the opposition of Labor and Meretz to raising the retirement age for women, the agricultural reform and other measures.   
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) met with coalition party heads on Tuesday in an effort to reach compromises. Labor leader Merav Michaeli, who is in the United States with her new baby born to a surrogate, spoke at length about the budget with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

 ‘IF MR. [Avigdor] Liberman decides I won’t be there, I won’t be there.’ (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) ‘IF MR. [Avigdor] Liberman decides I won’t be there, I won’t be there.’ (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
One possibility is to pass the bills in their first readings and then remove controversial issues from the budget ahead of its final readings. Liberman ruled that out in a press conference on Monday, saying that the budgets for the two years and the arrangements bill are one inseparable package.
The budget for 2021 is NIS 432 billion and for 2022 NIS 452 billion.  
The Likud divided the budget among its MKs to find weaknesses in the lengthy proposal and compare it to budgets submitted when party and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu was prime minister.
United Torah Judaism will focus its opposition on reforms in the kosher certification industry. UTJ leader Moshe Gafni wrote to Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy on Tuesday, protesting the kosher certification reform being included in omnibus legislation and not being brought to a vote separately. 
“The issue of what is kosher has nothing to do with the budget,” Gafni wrote Levy. “Please separate it from the arrangements bill and enable a proper debate on this divisive issue.”
A spokesman for Levy said he received Gafni’s request and had not yet made a decision.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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