Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel SmotrichYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Faced with a 70 billion NIS budget deficit, Israel's Finance Ministry has compiled a list of recommendations to save public funds and bring additional income into the State's coffers.

According to a report by Mahadura Merkazit, the Ministry has proposed closing ten government offices: the National Missions Ministry headed by Minister Orit Strock; the Jerusalem and Jewish Tradition Ministry, headed by Minister Meir Porush; the Intelligence Ministry, headed by Minister Gila Gamliel; the Negev and Galilee Ministry, headed by Minister Itshak Waserlauf; the Regional Cooperation Ministry, headed by Minister Dudi Amsalem; the Diaspora Ministry and Social Equality Ministry, headed by Minister Amichai Chikli; the Strategic Affairs Ministry, headed by Minister Ron Dermer; the Heritage Ministry, headed by Minister Amichai Eliyahu; and the Women's Status Ministry, headed by Minister May Golan.

The Finance Ministry has also proposed cutting five billion NIS worth of coalition funds, canceling the subsidy on the price of gas, increasing taxes on cigarettes, and possibly adding additional taxes on various benefits in a popular type of savings plan called "keren hishtalmut."

If there is no other option, the Ministry will also propose raising the VAT, which would affect nearly all purchases in the country.

The reason for the budget deficit is the war with Hamas, which includes both the expense of the fighting itself, and the need to pay for accommodations for 120,000 evacuees. In addition, the government must also help businesses which were harmed by the fighting, and the hostages' families.