Knesset approves Israel's 2022 state budget after marathon debate

The final vote for the 2022 budget was completed in the early hours of Friday morning 59-56 after hours of debate.

 Moments after the passing of the 2021 budget, October 4, 2021 (photo credit: DANNY SHEMTOV/KNESSET SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)
Moments after the passing of the 2021 budget, October 4, 2021
(photo credit: DANNY SHEMTOV/KNESSET SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)

The 2022 budget passed the final reading in the Knesset in the early mornings of Friday morning with a majority of 59 votes for the budget and 56 against.

Shortly after the budget was passed, the coalition ministers took to Twitter to celebrate.

"Last night we put Israel back on track. Finally, a budget," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett wrote.

The passage of the  2022 state budget was the culmination of some 35 hours straight of voting some 800 times, in which the Knesset passed the budgets for 2021 and 2022 and their accompanying Economic Arrangements Law. Coalition MKs took pictures together, celebrating the vote.

"After three and a half years, we have a budget!" wrote Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman. "Finally, at the end of months of hard work, we have together completed the mission and brought a social and responsible budget to all the citizens of Israel. We will continue to stay on mission, ignore close-minded opinions and bring good news to all the country's citizens.

"You're allowed to be excited, and it's preferable that you smile. We promised and we delivered - a stable government and a thriving economy!"

 Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman seen during a plenum session and a vote on the state budget at the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem on November 3, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman seen during a plenum session and a vote on the state budget at the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem on November 3, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

"We took responsibility. We kept our promise. We passed a budget for 2022 for the nation and the citizens of Israel," wrote Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

"I feel that the passing of the budget is a win for the country but also a personal win for me," said Defense Minister Benny Gantz. "Whoever acted out of personal motives and caused great harm to the country and its citizens sits in the opposition, and those who care for Israel's citizens is in the coalition today."

At the conclusion of the voting, Speaker of the Knesset  Mickey Levy criticized the opposition for leaving the plenum before the results were announced. "The State of Israel finally has a budget," Levy wrote. "We will have political stability and government ministries will be able to operate in an orderly manner. I am disappointed that the opposition failed to accept the democratic process. I hope with all my heart that we will set out from here on a new path in the relations within the Knesset. It is time for us to have a different, more respectful discourse."

The opposition condemned the passage of the budget.

"The wicked coalition barely managed to pass an evil and cruel budget that has no mercy and no good news on anyone, except for cats, Reform [Jews] and extremist organizations," United Torah Judaism said in a statement, referring to an allocation for spaying and neutering stray felines. "The government harms the weak and the poor by raising taxes and harsh edicts."

Shas leader Arye Deri said the budget would also harm the elderly, large families and residents of the periphery. He said his party would continue fighting with full force against "the illegitimate government that is led by a man who does not cross the electoral threshold and is bringing about socioeconomic destruction and the destruction of the democratic character of the state."

Levy condemned an incident in which Likud MK Orly Levy-Abecassis refused to leave the Knesset Finance Committee. Levy-Abecassis verbally attacked an usher and made her cry.