Opinion: The country has been paralyzed by a lack of the national budget for the past 3 years; passing the bill, which has reforms that would make even Netanyahu proud, would buy years of stability for this government

On Tuesday afternoon, the Knesset began to debate the proposed 2021-22 state budget. If everything works out as planned, by the end of the week, or at the very least by next week, Israel will have an approved national budget for the first time since March 2018.

A state budget is an important tool for the government and ministers in charge of various state offices. Without an approved budget, their hands are tied and they can only use some 8% of the funds allotted by the previous national budget.

לאחר העברת תקציב המדינה בקריאה ראשונה
Lawmakers convene in Knesset for state budget debate (Photo: Knesset Spokesman Dani Shem Tov)


I’ve already been asked by supporters of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who have no clue of how to run a government office – what’s wrong with not having a state budget?

The problem is that without a budget, there is no possibility to allocate additional funds or transfer budgets to other important causes when they arise. If the government is unable to make changes and reforms, not only it cannot forward but it can also find itself marching backward in huge steps.

I’ll give you one example, although there are many.

In 2017, Netanyahu’s government, while still ruling in peace before the marathon of elections, made a very important decision to budget a five-year national plan to prevent and treat domestic violence – worth a total of NIS 250 million. Except the government’s decision wasn’t ever implemented. In spring of that same year, a different state budget was agreed upon. However, funds for the program were not allocated.

מליאת הכנסת: ישיבת פגרה מיוחדת- הצעת חוק התקציב
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)


The decision was followed by a four-round election cycle. Netanyahu didn’t want to maintain his rotation agreement with current Defense Minister Benny Ganz, and the state budget bill had remained in limbo. Therefore, the Welfare Ministry, which was entrusted with the execution of the domestic violence plan, had no way to actually implemented it.

The budget bill the Knesset is going to vote on later this week allocates funds for the first two years of that same five-year program.

The state budget includes a series of reforms that even Netanyahu circa early 2000s, when he was the finance minister, would have been proud of. You can also assume he would probably have put them up to a vote for the Knesset as well.

מליאת הכנסת
Opposition members during Knesset debate on the budget (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)


Right now, however, Netanyahu is the leader of the opposition. So, him and his political partners will do everything possible to sabotage the passing of the state budget, as well as the proposed changes.

They will curse, bad-mouth, threaten Coalition Chairwoman Idit Silman and call her a “traitor,” along with a host of other names, while Netanyahu will encourage it with his silence.

I have some critiques for the current coalition. But when I see what’s going on now, I remember what was then – and I rejoice!

As reported by Ynetnews