LIVE: Harsh words as the Knesset holds marathon debate on new state budget

Lapid lambasts opposition for "fantasy" budget; Yacimovich: Government is cutting off hope and faith.

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July 29, 2013 12:53
1 minute read.
The Knesset debates the proposed state budget, July 29, 2013

Knesset budget debate 29.7.13 370. (photo credit: Lahav Harkov)

The Knesset convened Monday for a stormy marathon debate ahead of the final votes on the 2013 state budget.

"This government is cutting off the hope and faith that could have changed the destiny of this country," opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich of Labor charged, as she lambasted Finance Minister Yair Lapid for his budget.

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Lapid in turn had harsh words for the opposition's proposed budget, deriding it as based in "fantasy".

"The optimistic budget" of the opposition includes "a car for every worker," and "a school for every student," mocked Lapid. "When we're done discussing the fantasy world, I suggest we get back to reality."

The Knesset is scheduled to complete voting on the budget on Tuesday at 9 a.m., a full 24 hours after the discussions began.

Presenting the budget to the Knesset last week, Lapid touted it as one that makes everyone carry the tax burden equally and creates stability through fiscal discipline to encourage growth.

“We’re moving from a culture of handouts to a culture of work,” he said. “Work is a Jewish and a social value.”

The current version of the budget contains a slew of changes from Lapid’s original proposal in May, though the overall framework remains the same.

While deficit targets of 4.65 percent for 2013 and 3% for 2014 remained in place, overall spending increased from NIS 388.34 billion to NIS 395b. for 2013, and fell from NIS 408.06b. to NIS 405.27b. for 2014.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu intervened to scale back NIS 1b. of the NIS 4b. in defense cuts originally planned for 2013, though the defense budget is tentatively set to be NIS 3b. lower than Lapid’s original plan for 2014.

Follow The Jerusalem Post's Knesset correspondent, Lahav Harkov, as she tweets live from the budget debate:




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