The Joint List has rejected the government’s proposed general state budget for 2019. During a plenum debate in the Knesset Communist MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash – Joint List) argued that the budget prepared by the government is designed to reinforce the occupation, intensify settlement construction, deepen discrimination and prejudice against the state’s Arab citizens, and widen the gaps in the distribution of public resources. Following a marathon debate, and after all the reservations were rejected, the Knesset plenum passed overnight Wednesday, March 14, the 2019 State Budget and the accompanying anti-democratic Economic Arrangements Law in their second and third readings. The neo-liberal budget passed its third and final reading by a vote of 62 to 54.
During the discussions on the budget in the Knesset plenum, MK Touma-Sliman stressed that the Budget and the Economic Arrangements laws, both reveal the government’s extremist and racist policies. It does so by allocating most funding to the army of occupation, the settlements and preparations for war, as well as serving the interests of the wealthy and crushing the vulnerable groups in the Israeli society, rather than seeking to foster equality and social justice.
MK Touma-Sliman pointed out that the budget blatantly and unfairly ignores the Arab citizens’ needs and rights, and excludes them from the fair distribution of wealth, as their share of the general budget is not at all commensurate with their percentage in the country’s total population. In addition, it does not seek to bridge the wide gaps between the Arab and Jewish communities which have resulted from nearly seven decades of marginalization, exclusion, impoverishment and racial discrimination against the state’s Arab citizens.
Touma-Sliman added that approving the budget in such a way that ignores the Arab-Palestinian community in Israel confirms that the road towards achieving rights and full equality is still a long one, and that it is necessary to intensify cooperative Jewish-Arab political and democratic activism and the struggle to transform the capitalist Israeli society and to achieve a just peace with the Palestinian people.