Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Finance Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Finance Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni No credit

The Knesset approved overnight Wednesday the second and third readings of the state budget and the economic plan for 2019.

63 Knesset members voted in favor of the budget and 54 voted against. There were no abstentions.

The state budget in 2019 will amount to 397.3 billion shekels, the education budget will be 60 billion shekels, the health budget will be 38 billion shekels, the welfare and Holocaust survivors budget will amount to 13 billion shekels, allowances for disabled persons will amount to approximately 2 billion shekels, and the Ministry of Defense budget will amount to about 63 billion shekels.

In 2019, the deficit will be 2.9% of the GDP, and in 2020 it will be 2.5% of the GDP.

Among the reforms included in the budget are a national nursing program; moving from bank to bank at the touch of a button; lowering the prices of private surgeries; shortening the working week; the reform of shortening vacations; a reform meant to cut the dependence of sports on gambling; reducing the use of cash; increasing the supply of housing and encouraging integration into the labor market by providing work grants.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said after the budget was approved, "The Knesset has now approved a fifth budget during one term, a social budget with a lot of news for the people of Israel, a budget with lots of news for populations that have been abandoned in recent years.”

"It's true that the past two weeks were very, very difficult and very tedious, we had to solve difficult and complicated crises, but the battle and the efforts were all worth it,” he continued.

“This moment is a moment of social change that will change the face of the State of Israel socially in the coming years. Every citizen of the country will feel it,” he concluded.

MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), chairman of the Knesset’s Finance Committee, said, "This budget is a budget that the first time that I can remember is a budget that has no decrees - a budget that ultimately has very positive things. This budget is a budget that greatly increases the health budget. It raises the education budget, it raises the defense budget, it raises the welfare budget, it raises budgets in unprecedented magnitude, it lowers taxes.”

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