State budget delayed due to coalition infighting

Netanyahu is angry with Shas and UTJ, both over their lack of cooperation on the budget and the rebellion of haredi MKs.

July 26, 2015 19:50
2 minute read.
The Knesset

The Knesset . (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delayed a long-awaited cabinet meeting about the 2015-2016 state budget from this week to next week, due to continued differences among his coalition partners regarding proposed cutbacks on Sunday.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon suggested delaying the implementation of promises made to coalition parties during talks that led to the formation of the government, or at least spreading the benefits over multiple state budgets. United Torah Judaism and Shas have refused.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Kahlon is expected to meet with UTJ heads Ya’acov Litzman and Moshe Gafni and Shas leader Arye Deri in an effort to resolve their differences.

Netanyahu is angry with Shas and UTJ, both over their lack of cooperation on the budget and due to the rebellion of haredi (ultra-Orthodox) MKs in last Wednesday’s vote on the committee that selects rabbinical court judges. A number of Shas and UTJ MKs voted for Labor MK Revital Swid instead of the coalition’s candidate, Likud MK Nava Boker.

Boker announced after the vote that she would no longer see herself bound by coalition discipline. But Netanyahu reportedly spoke to Boker and calmed her down.

The main dispute over the budget is Kahlon’s insistence on cutting retroactive child welfare benefits. UTJ leaders said Kahlon was aware that during coalition negotiations Netanyahu promised to retroactively restore child welfare benefits that were cut by then-finance minister Yair Lapid.

Shas leader Arye Deri has threatened a coalition crisis if value-added tax is not removed from basic household items, and Bayit Yehudi is unwilling to give up on extra funding it received for national-religious education.

There are also Likud ministers who have threatened to vote against the budget, including Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Welfare and Social Services Minister Haim Katz.

The budget difficulties stem from expensive promises Netanyahu made in order to secure coalition deals following the March election.

Besides reversing cuts to National Insurance Institute child allotments enacted by Lapid and the VAT exemptions for basic items, the promises include increased defense spending and Kahlon’s own initiatives to provide unemployment benefits for independent workers and increasing pension payments for the elderly.

The promises are estimated to cost some NIS 8 billion.

Given that the Finance Ministry must fill in a NIS 14b. budget hole to hit all its fiscal targets, Netanyahu is hoping to scale back some of the promises. The child allotments, for example, could be raised over a twoyear period instead of right away.

Related Content

Anastasia Michaeli
August 17, 2018
Former controversial Knesset Member returns to politics