After a meeting that lasted over three hours, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaches an agreement with National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir that removes the final major hurdle before approving the crucial 2023-2024 state budget.
The budget must be passed in the next seven days or the government will automatically fall, with snap elections called. Ben Gvir said he would not back the budget if his demand for an extra hundreds of millions of shekels for the Negev and Galilee Ministry, held by Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party, was not met. However, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich reportedly threatened to quit if the overall budget is expanded even by another shekel.
According to the deal reached tonight, the Negev and Galilee Ministry will get an additional NIS 250 million ($68.3 million) next year from budget surpluses at the end of 2023, if there are any.
If there are insufficient surpluses, the budget for all other ministries will be retroactively cut to hand the ministry the necessary amount for 2024.
All Otzma Yehudit members will support the state budget, the deal stipulates.