ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 143

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In potential new crisis, Ben Gvir declares party opposes current budget

National Security Minsiter, head of the Otzma Yehudit political party, Itamar Ben Gvir gives a press statement during a party meeting in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, May 3, 2023. (Flash90)
National Security Minsiter, head of the Otzma Yehudit political party, Itamar Ben Gvir gives a press statement during a party meeting in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, May 3, 2023. (Flash90)

Far-right minister Itamar Ben Gvir says his Otzma Yehudit party will not vote in favor of funds promised to various causes under coalition deals as part of the state budget, due to his criticism of the lack of funds for development of the Negev and Galilee.

“Otzma Yehudit opposes this budget,” he says in a statement. “We cannot accept the Negev and Galilee [regions] being forgotten.” He says more funds need to be allocated “to Judaize the Negev and the Galilee.”

Party colleague Negev and Galilee Minister Yitzhak Wasserlauf adds that the current allocation “is also a violation of what we were promised in coalition agreements. I hope the budget will not pass as it is.”

The two express their frustration just a week after NIS 12.4 billion of discretionary funding attached to the two-year, 2023-2024 budget was made public. The Negev and Galilee Ministry received NIS 460 million ($125 million) from the pot, according to analysis by the Berl Katznelson Foundation.

The government has until May 29 to pass the budget or face automatic dissolution.

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