Knesset panel advances budget as opposition allocates millions – .

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The Knesset finance committee put forward the new coalition’s plan to fund the government for the years 2021 and 2022 on Thursday morning before dawn after a stormy six-hour session that saw tens of millions of shekels allocated to the request from the opposition. .

The budget will now go to the Knesset for a vote on second and third reading. He will have to pass a final vote before November 14 in order to avoid an early election.

In recent weeks, coalition lawmakers have expressed growing optimism about their chances of passing a budget, with no one in the narrow 61-seat government interested in another election, despite the various ideological differences between them.

The last time a coalition succeeded in passing a budget was in March 2018. Failure to do so was what brought down the previous government late last year.

The finance committee meeting that began Wednesday night was to be a long session from the start, given the 30,000 or so challenges filed by the opposition in an attempt to derail the legislation.

After several hours of debate, lawmakers agreed to a compromise that will see funds allocated based on a number of demands made by the opposition. Following the compromise, opposition lawmakers agreed to withdraw most of their challenges.

The two sides agreed to allocate NIS 50 million (about $ 15.6 million) to various projects at the request of the opposition, with an additional NIS 41 million to be paid in 2022.

Of these funds, NIS 15 million (about $ 4.7 million) will be transferred to independent education (which is mainly the religious education sector), an additional NIS 15 million to a life education fund. Torah, 7 million shekels ($ 2.3 million) for strengthening the Jewish community. identity, and 5 million shekels ($ 1.5 million) to renovate hospitals on the outskirts. Funds have also been allocated to residential schools.

Illustration: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish children at a school in Jerusalem on August 9, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel / Flash90)

In addition, the Joint List party got 15 million shekels (about 4.7 million dollars) to pay in social security contributions for students studying abroad.

The budget laws passed will also see 50 million shekels ($ 15.67 million) allocated to projects aimed at strengthening Jewish culture in so-called mixed towns across the country, 6 million shekels ($ 1.88 million) allocated to counseling centers and emergency shelters for young people who have ceased to maintain a Haredi way of life, and 9.5 million shekels ($ 2.98 million) of additional funds allocated to aid centers for victims of sexual assault.

Finance Committee Chairman Alex Kushnir praised the panel’s lawmakers in a statement after the legislation was moved forward, saying: “We have gone through a very important process here, first and foremost for the country. The last budget adopted here dates back to March 2018. This budget contains a lot of good economic news [for Israel’s citizens] in addition to historic reforms.

Yisrael Beytenu lawmaker then thanked coalition and opposition MPs for participating in the marathon session, which highlighted rare cooperation between parliamentarians on opposite sides of the aisle.

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