Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich says that the budget survived “enormous pressure from interested parties, irresponsible strikes and media campaigns,” but the government “did not capitulate.”
Specifically, he hails the government’s controversial plan to transfer a portion of municipal taxes from more economically active cities to less commercial ones.
This so-called Arnona Fund kicked off multi-day strikes across major municipalities, including Tel Aviv and Haifa.
The finance minister also says the budget will “provide stability and certainty to the economy,” at a time when Israel is facing a potential credit rating downgrade and reduced tax revenue, as a result of the government’s ambition to curtail judicial checks on its power.
Despite reduced state income, the budget is packed with bonuses for coalition party interests, and on Monday, Smotrich and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised half a billion shekels in budget surpluses to additional sectoral interests, in order to shore up the 61 votes necessary to pass the financial plan.
“We proved in the budget that we do not capitulate and do not surrender,” the finance minister says, sitting alongside Netanyahu.