Naftali Bennett
Naftali BennettShulo Shalom/TPS

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett participated in a '40 signatures' discussion in the Knesset Monday evening, where he attacked the opposition and took pride in the government's achievements.

"When I saw the subject of the debate I could not help but chuckle. There really is no limit to your lack of self-awareness. Because the current government is free from the coalition fetters and interests that bound you, the government has already passed on first reading the most socially inclusive budget we have had in years. We are passing a budget, this is something that has not happened in the State of Israel since March 2018," said Bennett.

"For the first time in years, we were able to sit together, observe the great, infrastructural needs of the State of Israel, be attentive to the citizens, and direct the resources in a correct and matter-of-fact manner," he added.

The prime minister gave examples, "Let's start with health. The great news is of course the exit from the Delta wave without lockdowns, the rising growth, the falling unemployment - which in general allow us this economic activism. After all, with the lockdown policies that you are addicted to, we would only increase the deficit by another 60 billion."

"Well, we've added two billion for health, beyond the current budget. We allowed for 600 new doctors, 1,500 new nurses and hundreds of new health professionals in the base budget. We have approved a plan to open 270 positions for additional physicians and 1,500 positions for nurses each year. The system needed it, after being starved for years.

''Another matter which we take seriously and have been allocated significant resources to is the field of mental health. The period of the coronavirus and the lockdowns made it very difficult for many people, and we will help them cope," Bennett explained.

On the subject of transportation, the prime minister said: "Here is a huge project, NIS 150 billion, which is the metro, which will turn Gush Dan into a normal metropolis, and not one huge and sticky traffic jam as it is today. In the next budget, we are allocating about NIS six billion for this."

"We will continue - NIS 46 billion for the development of the railway in a multi-year plan. NIS eight billion for urban and interurban public transportation routes. NIS 3.5 billion for the construction of bus terminals, and NIS two billion for the construction of bicycle paths. Notice the importance we attach to public transportation.

Bennett said that the government would encourage competition to lower prices in supermarkets. "The cart in the supermarket of every Israeli family comes with one of the highest price tags in the world. For years, prices here have been rising. This can only be addressed by encouraging competition. Our budget plan will facilitate imports, business licensing, and will ultimately lead to lower prices. This is our ongoing policy, together with the Finance Minister, and we will see more of it soon."

The Prime Minister praised Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana for his proposed reforms to the kashrut industry: "Kashrut reform is a courageous reform will break the kashrut monopoly and lead to a reduction in costs for business owners, which will be passed on to the customer."

"1.1 billion shekels for mental health reform," Bennett continued. "We take care of the mentally handicapped from the IDF: increasing the treatment basket for post-traumatic injuries, regulating budgets and anchoring rights, increasing standards, eliminating probing the past of our wounded, appointing the Commissioner of Equal Rights for People with Disabilities and more. Crime and violence in Arab society is a huge, strategic issue for the state's ability to govern all its areas."

"The last few months - since the loss of control of the state during Operation Guardian of the Walls - and then the wave of murders and violence - have compelled us all to reconsider this long-standing neglect that has exploded in our faces. Therefore - we appointed a director for this task - a leader and a team of ministers. And we have allocated very large resources - NIS 2.5 billion."