שר האוצר אביגדור ליברמן במליאת הכנסת
שר האוצר אביגדור ליברמן במליאת הכנסת צילום: נועם מושקוביץ, דוברות הכנסת

The Knesset voted Thursday night in favor of the government’s state spending plan, after having voted to approve the budget’s framework earlier today.

The Knesset plenum backed the budget bill 59 to 54, closely mirroring the 59 to 53 prelimiarny vote Thursday afternoon on the framework for the spending plan.

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

“After three years without a budget, tonight we approved a wonderful budget in the first reading,” said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett Thursday night.

“It is a budget which will strengthen the defense establishment and the health system, and which will care for the incomes of Israeli citizens. It is a budget that will care for citizens, not political interests. This is another step towards a better country – more united and more stable.”

The budget received preliminary approve earlier Thursday 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 Thursday afternoon. "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."

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