Far-right Prime Minister Naftali Bennett derided on Monday, August 2, the previous governments led by Benjamin Netanyahu, after the Bennett’s own new cabinet voted unanimously to approve a budget to be brought before the Knesset for ratification, something that Netanyahu failed to do during the last three years of his tenure as PM. “We’ve done in 36 hours what you didn’t do in 36 months, we passed a budget,” Bennett crowed during a heated Knesset plenary session, addressing the opposition.
The budget, replete with neo-liberal guidelines and occupation allocations, will bring 2022’s military spending, including maintaining and expanding the occupation, to NIS 58 billion ($17.8 billion), according to a government statement issued last week. This includes a substantial increase — some NIS 7 billion ($2.15 billion) — for “rearmament and strengthening” Israel’s military” to prepare … for a potential strike on Iran,” according to the statement from the prime minister, defense minister, and finance minister.
The 2021-2022 budget ($187 billion for 2021, $173 billion for 2022) must now pass through committee stages and three readings in the Knesset plenum by a November 4 deadline. This marks a key challenge for the coalition, which holds an extremely narrow parliamentary majority. If it does not pass by then, the Knesset would automatically dissolve and new elections would follow.
“If we need to, we’ll recruit one or two of the Joint List lawmakers without shame. We have a majority for the budget, we don’t need 61 votes,” racist Minister of Finance Avigdor Lieberman told Channel 12 on Monday evening. In response, the Joint List, said it “can’t be bought.” “We won’t support a budget that deepens the occupation and settlements, raises the prices of electricity and gas, raises the retirement age for women and disenfranchises the weak,” the Joint List statement read.