Knesset plenum
Knesset plenumOlivier Fitoussi/Flash90

The Israeli government scored an important victory in the Knesset Thursday, with a state budget plan passing its preliminary vote in the Knesset plenum.

The Knesset voted 59 to 53 in favor of the budget framework Thursday afternoon, enabling the budget plan to pass its first legislative hurdle.

If fully approved, the budget will be the first spending plan approved in the Knesset since March of 2018.

The budget received preliminary approve in the Knesset plenum hours after the Finance Ministry and Health Ministry reached a last-minute deal allocating an additional one billion shekels ($311,696,500) to the healthcare system, beyond the billion shekels added to the Health Ministry in an earlier deal.

The spending plan spans two years, 2021 – 2022, and following Thursday’s vote in the Knesset plenum, the bill will go to committee ahead of the two final votes needed to pass into law.

By statute, the government must secure passage of a spending plan by November 4th, or face the automatic dissolution of the Knesset and snap elections – Israel’s fifth since 2019.

"This is a joyous day," said Finance Minister Avidgor Liberman. "After three and a half years, this the first time that this chamber has held a deliberation on the budget. For three and a half years, the Knesset plenum held no serious deliberation on the state budget - that is something unprecedented."

"I've been in this chamber for many years, and I can't remember a period like this. The budget is a priorities list of the government, and this deliberation symbolizes more than anything the end of this crazy period and the return to normality. This is proof that this government functions and the coalition works."