Smotrich defends economic response to war

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

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich attends a press conference at the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem on October 19, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich attends a press conference at the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem on October 19, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich responds to criticism of the government’s economic actions amid the war, saying that his plan is a rapid response geared at maintaining keeping the economy going.

“The goal is continuity of the Israeli economy. We want the economy to function as much as possible, even during the war,” Smotrich says, addressing the media ahead of his far-right Religious Zionism party’s faction meeting in the Knesset.

Alluding to frustration over NIS 14.7 billion in discretionary funds that had been allocated to political interests, Smotrich reiterates that Israel’s 2023-2024 state budget is being reevaluated to support the war effort.

“All of the priorities in the budget are changing in light of the war,” he says.

The government has faced widespread criticism that it has been too slow to respond as the economy shows signs of strain amid the war, and that it has left citizens without support.

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