Israeli cabinet passes amended 2024 budget adding $15 billion for war

Israeli cabinet passes amended 2024 budget adding $15 billion for war
# 15 January 2024 19:51 (UTC +04:00)

Israel's cabinet on Monday passed a disputed 2024 state budget with amendments adding 55 billion shekels ($15 billion) of spending after over three months of war with Hamas, the Finance Ministry and Prime Minister's Office said, APA reports citing Reuters.

With Israel's war against the Hamas group passing 100 days on Sunday, the amended budget will include more money for defence and compensation for those impacted by the conflict, along with higher allocations for healthcare, police, welfare and education.

"We changed the priorities so that every reservist and every fighter and his family knows that there is a government that stands behind him and fully takes care of him," Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said after the vote.

The approval came after more than 24 hours of debate in which a vote was delayed by ministers unhappy with the level of budget cuts to some ministries meant to offset extra war spending. In the end, some planned cuts to health and internal security were scrapped to ensure passage of the budget.

In all, total spending in 2024 will amount to 582 billion shekels, up some 70 billion from its initial budget and after 20 billion shekels of across the board reductions. The ministry projects a budget deficit of 6.6% of GDP this year.

Israel last year approved a two-year budget for 2023 and 2024, but the Gaza war has shaken up government finances, requiring budget changes and additional spending.

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THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED