State budget won't be expedited to prevent coalition collapse

There were those in the governing coalition who sought to expedite the budget's passage in an effort to make it harder to topple the government.

 Budget approval in the Knesset. (photo credit: DANI SHEM TOV/KNESSET SPOKESPERSONS OFFICE)
Budget approval in the Knesset.
(photo credit: DANI SHEM TOV/KNESSET SPOKESPERSONS OFFICE)

The passage of the two-year state budget for 2023 and 2024 will not be advanced from December to May because senior Finance Ministry officials rejected the move, sources in the ministry said on Tuesday.

There were those in the governing coalition who sought to expedite the budget’s passage in an effort to make it harder to topple the government. The 2023 budget must pass by the end of the year to prevent the government from falling.
There are fears inside the coalition that other MKs in the coalition will use the budget to bring down the government before the August 2023 rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office between Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid. The previous government of Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz was toppled that way.
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman discussed the timetable with the top officials in his ministry on Tuesday morning. Ministry officials said after the meeting It was clear that not only would the budget not be passed into law by the Knesset by May, its initial draft would not even be presented to the cabinet by then. “Preparing a budget takes time,” a Finance Ministry official said. “There is not enough time by May to draft reforms. It is a longer process.”
Liberman himself told his Yisrael Beytenu faction on Monday that the decisions in his ministry would be professional and transparent. “We make decisions based solely on economic considerations,” he said.
 Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman defends the budget in a Knesset address. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM) Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman defends the budget in a Knesset address. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A source close to the ministerial liaison to the Knesset, Ze’ev Elkin, said Elkin merely asked the Finance Ministry to check whether it was possible to have the budget ready for its first reading in May and its final readings in September. The source said it was just one of many options checked.
Meanwhile, progress was made on Tuesday in efforts to draft a compensation package for businesses harmed by the coronavirus. Liberman held meetings on the issue with Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Abir Kara (Yamina), who headed an organization helping independent workers and small businesses before entering the Knesset.