The government on Monday night approved the revised state budget for 2023, which is adjusted for the war and includes a reallocation of approximately 4.8 billion shekels of coalition funds.
The five ministers from the National Unity Party voted against the budget, protesting the fact that it diverts only a portion of the coalition funds for the benefit of the war. Minister Ofir Akunis from the Likud abstained from voting on the section which deals with the coalition funds.
Minister Gideon Sa'ar explained at the meeting why he decided to vote against the budget.
"A different proposal could have been brought to this meeting. One that is in line with the good of the economy, one that transcends the magnitude of the moment, one that reflects the unity of the people. Unfortunately, that is not what happened here tonight," said Sa'ar.
He turned to the members of the government and wondered: "We voted against the coalition agreements when the government was formed. Why did you think we would change our mind now?"
He later criticized the distribution of coalition funds and said, "When we joined the government, did we ask for coalition funds? That never occurred to us! We are at war!"
In conclusion, Sa’ar said, "We are entering an extremely difficult economic period with a lot of uncertainty. We need to have a broad hand in everything that concerns war expenses, both in security and in the related civilian expenses. On the other hand - we must freeze everything that is not required and necessary! Unfortunately, the proposal before us does not do that - that's why I will vote against."
Akunis announced that he would abstain from voting on the section titled "Implementation of Coalition Agreements".
"It is not given that Israel entered the war in Gaza with its economic situation being solid, as evidenced by reviews of the governor of the Bank of Israel and the heads of the Ministry of Finance. At the economic-social cabinet meeting, we agreed, with a broad consensus, that there would be no spending on anything that is not related to the needs of the war," he said.
Earlier, Economy Minister Nir Barkat announced that he intends to vote against the revised budget.
Sources close to Barkat said that "this is a bad budget that does not provide a solution for small and medium-sized businesses. The budget does not have a solution for the growth of the economy and there is no aid for businesses that will collapse."