Israeli Cabinet Passes Wartime Budget amid Political Wrangling

The Israeli Knesset. (Photo: via Wikimedia Commons)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The Israeli government has approved an amended state budget worth 582 billion shekels (S155 billion) amid its current onslaught on the besieged Gaza Strip. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday that the “very important budget” includes money for defense and compensation for those impacted by the current military operation.

“This is the war budget, which also takes care of the needs of our reservists, their families, the self-employed, and government ministries, and the needs of the public,” Netanyahu reportedly said.

“We are increasing the health budget and adding a billion shekels to it for mental health, an important need,” Israeli media quoted him as saying.

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The Anadolu news agency reported that, according to Israeli public broadcaster KAN, the 2024 budget includes 55 billion shekels ($14.8 billion) for the defense budget and nine billion shekels ($2.4 billion) for the army’s reservists recruitment programs.

Disagreement Among Politicians

The additional money for the defense budget will be used to buy military hardware and to pay Israel’s 360,000 army reservists. According to Al-Jazeera, it includes funds to support the over 100,000 settlers evacuated from the Gaza envelope and from northern Israel.

The budget discussions saw differences among ministers amid opposition to cuts proposed by the Finance Ministry, with some ministers threatening not to support the budget, Anadolu reported.

The main dispute, the report said, was over cuts in the budgets of various ministries.

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Far-right national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who lives in an illegal settlement in Hebron (Al-Khalil), had threatened to withdraw his support from any budget that cut funds from his ministry.

Gaza’s Ministry of Health says that 24,285 Palestinians have been killed, and 61,154 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Palestinian and international estimates say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

(PC, Anadolu)

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