Israel’s parliament passed the 2023-2024 national budget on Wednesday, May 24, providing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a political reprieve following months of unprecedented protests against his religious-nationalist coalition’s judicial overhaul plans.
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The spending package of 484 billion shekels ( USD 131 bln ) for this year and 514 bln shekels (USD 139 bln) for next year was ratified in a final vote of 64-to-56 in the Knesset, a parliament statement said.
The government is facing economic pressure with rising living costs and fallout from its now-suspended judicial overhaul drive, which triggered one of Israel’s worst political crises, drove away investment and cut growth prospects.
The two-year spending package posed another test to the religious-nationalist coalition, drawing criticism from the government’s own budget division for increasing funding to ultra-orthodox Jewish schools and seminary students in a series of steps it warned would encourage joblessness and harm growth.