ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 143

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Netanyahu vows budget will pass, government will serve four full years

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement in the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement in the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanks his coalition partners for their “unity, and in the end, on the friendship,” in coming together to pass the 2023-2024 state budget, which is expected to sail through its final two votes in the Knesset this evening.

“I think our ability to do this comes from our collaboration between friends,” Netanyahu stresses, calling out his five fellow party heads by name despite days of wrangling over the budget.

On Monday, Netanyahu finally secured the 61 votes necessary to pass the budget, after promising to transfer budget surpluses to priorities for United Torah Judaism and Otzma Yehudit, after their party heads threatened to boycott the budget vote without more funding.

MK Avi Maoz, the Noam party’s sole lawmaker, has similarly threatened to not vote for the budget if his Jewish national identity office is not funded to the tune of hundreds of millions of shekels.

Once the budget hurdle is cleared, Netanyahu’s government will have an 18-month runway before again facing a deadline to pass a state budget, or risk triggering snap elections.

Plagued by infighting predating the budget, the coalition can still voluntarily pull itself apart. “This government will last all four of its years,” the premier vows in remarks directed to opposition politicians.

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