Finance minister: State budget to be presented next week

Netanyahu to Gantz: Stop your threats

Foreign Minister Israel Katz attends a cabinet meeting, December 2019. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Foreign Minister Israel Katz attends a cabinet meeting, December 2019.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Finance Minister Israel Katz announced last night that he will present the 2020 state budget to the government next week and the 2021 budget in February.
"The government will present the 2020 budget soon,"  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a news conference last night. "This will get us through this year and will give us breathing space to pass the 2021 budget. From what I understand from the finance minister, this should take us until February (to complete)."
Bank of Israel governor Amir Yaron has urged Netanyahu's cabinet to pass the 2021 budget as soon as possible to help the economy recover from the coronavirus crisis, as has Netanyahu's senior coalition partner, Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
The deadline to pass the 2020 budget, which Katz indicated would be NIS 411 billion, into law to avoid an automatic election is December 23. The deadline to pass the 2021 budget is March 31, but Gantz said it must be presented by the end of the year.
Reacting to Gantz’s threats, Netanyahu said the budget should not be subjected to politics. He said Blue and White leaders did not understand the timetable for the budget.
“It is time to stop the threats,” Netanyahu said. “It is time to stop acting like a government within a government.”
Gantz warned on Saturday night that the government’s tenure could end soon if Netanyahu does not take immediate action to enable it to function.
“The government is not functioning,” he told Channel 12’s Meet the Press program. “We’re struggling from inside the government and we’ll continue fighting. We need to see practical steps toward a budget or we’ll reconsider our path and consider other options.”
Reuters contributed to this report.