Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman promised to complete work on the 2023 state budget in time for the Passover holiday in mid-April, in an effort to bring about another year of political stability.
Speaking at Tuesday’s Maariv Conference, Liberman said that if the budget is completed by then, he would bring it to a vote in the government by Rosh Hashanah and then pass it into law in the Knesset in November, well before the December 31 deadline. According to law, the deadline can be extended until the end of March without the government falling.
“There is no doubt we will have the same coalition a year from now,” Liberman predicted.
He said the key to maintaining stability in the coalition is focusing on five issues that he said the public cares about the most: lowering the cost of living, reducing housing prices, fighting crime, improving health services and easing traffic congestion.
The cost of housing rose in Israel by 11% over the past year, Liberman said, blaming the rise on international factors Israel could not fully control, like the cost of steel, international shipping and interest rates. He said the cost of housing had risen by much more in other Western countries due to those factors, but that he expects housing costs to go down in 2022.
Despite recent terror attacks and the Omicron variant, Liberman said Israel’s current situation was much better than in Europe and elsewhere.
“There is no need for panicking toward an apocalyptic mood,” he said.
Earlier at the same conference, State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman revealed that his office is probing the efforts of the defense establishment and intelligence agencies to prevent the nuclearization of Iran. He said some of the reports would be classified.
"Part of Israel's resilience is that everyone is subject to oversight, and that includes the defense system, intelligence agencies, and the IDF," Englman said.