Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich praises ‘responsible’ 2024 wartime budget

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

The government’s amended wartime budget for 2024 is a responsible one that will provide the necessary resources for Israel to achieve victory against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich says.

Speaking ahead of a preliminary vote on the government’s amended 2024 budget in the Knesset plenum, Smotrich says that the budget contains “two main components: a dramatic increase in the defense budget and the budgets for other civilian expenses that are necessary for the maintenance of the war, as well as reductions in the rest of the budgets.”

“We submitted a responsible budget that will allow the government to wage the war until victory,” he says, noting that the expenses incurred during the war will not disappear with the end of hostilities.

“Some of the vulnerabilities will accompany us in the foreseeable future and burden the economy. This is a turning point in the Israeli economy that requires the mobilization of the government and all of us as a society. This is a crisis. There is a permanent increase that will accompany us in the coming years in the budget including civilian expenses – additional health, mental health, welfare, pensions, victims of hostilities, compensation and more.”

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