Wartime budget update passes 1st Knesset vote; Gantz votes against, Barkat boycotts vote

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

The government’s 2023 wartime budget update clears its first of three required Knesset votes.

With 62 MKs voting in favor and 53 against, the vote is the Knesset’s most contentious since war broke out on the heels of Hamas’s October 7 onslaught.

War cabinet minister Benny Gantz and his National Unity party members vote against the proposal, Likud MK Nir Barkat goes through with his threat and boycotts the vote, and Likud’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is also absent.

The bill proposes funneling NIS 30 billion ($8.1 billion) to wartime priorities — including NIS 17 billion ($4.6 billion) to the military and the rest to civil affairs. Only about NIS 4 billion ($1.08 billion) of the update is generated from reshuffled funds, meaning that about NIS 26 billion ($7 billion) of the budget will be financed by increasing the national debt.

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