Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Knesset approved the 2019 Arrangements Law with 62 members voting in favor and 54 members objecting on Wednesday night. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was absent as he is suffering from a fever and a sore throat.
MK Yehudah Glick (Likud) voted in favor of the 2019 budget despite earlier promises to vote against it. Glick said in a phone interview with Maariv that Netanyahu committed to meeting Glick on Sunday to address the issue of smoking in Israel.
Glick previously called smoking “the number one cause of death in Israel” and claimed he can’t support a budget that doesn’t address the issue.
MK Oren Hazan (Likud) refrained from voting due to a previous commitment to increase the wages of police officers and prison wardens so that they are equal to the wages of career IDF soldiers, a commitment that he claims was not met.
Hazan wrote on social media that “Prime Minister, you committed [to this]! I committed [to this]! We in the Likud party made a commitment! Commitments made to the public must be met!”
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said that he is happy to present the budget for the State of Israel today [Wednesday night].
“A week ago I said that if the state budget will not be approved by Passover night,” he said, “I will have to leave the office of finance minister. Tonight I am happy to say that on Passover night I will be in office and we will continue to serve the people of Israel.”
Stressing that the current budget belongs to all Israelis regardless of their political or religious views, Khalon boasted it has “amazing added sums [of money] to benefit civilian issues.”
He added that while the opposition is right to call for even further social spending as “it’s never enough” he added that “the people of Israel will wait for your reforms, until then all you say will be mere talk.”
“Had we not passed the 2019 budget now reform planned for 2018 would not have been approved,” he said.
Kahlon wished the ailing Netanyahu good health.