Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset (Photo: @ahramonline)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was interviewed Wednesday morning by Israeli Channel 14 News in the Knesset and referred to the passing of the state budget, which will amount to approximately 484 billion NIS in 2024, by a majority of 64 versus 55 Knesset members against in the second and third reading.

"This is the dawn of a new day. A good day for the citizens of Israel," Netanyahu said. When asked what the goals are now, the Prime Minister replied that the coalition will focus on lowering the cost of living, and noted that the judicial reform will return, but added that "we are trying to reach an understanding and I hope we will succeed. The coalition will be here for 4 full years." 

However, opposition MK Benny Gantz criticized Netanyahu for his words and said that "I understand that Netanyahu is drunk with power again, after passing a budget that will explode in all of our faces. I remind Netanyahu that it is stupid to repeat the same action and expect different results. If the coup d'état [judicial reform] comes back to the table, we will shake the entire country and stop it."

In addition to the state budget, the Law of Arrangements was approved, which includes steps to accelerate growth and raise the standard of living and focuses on five main goals: accelerating infrastructure and managing the housing market, increasing competition and reducing centralization, strengthening human capital, reducing regulation and bureaucracy for the business and citizen sectors, and streamlining the public sector.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid also attacked Netanyahu after the passing of the budget: "While you were asleep, the most harmful and destructive budget in the history of the country was passed. There is nothing in it except endless extortion and a breach of contract with the serving and working population of the State of Israel." 

Minister of Finance, Bezalel Smotrich praised the government’s efforts and said: "The state budget for the years 2023-2024 is an excellent state budget. It is biased towards growth, infrastructure, encouraging capital investments in high-tech, in agriculture, a huge investment in the health care system that has been neglected for years, a huge investment in governance and the security system, a huge investment in higher education and in the education system on all levels. The Israeli economy is a strong economy. Our economy is one of the best and most stable economies in the world. When there were economic storms in the past, we were the first to get out of them. This is also what will happen now and a lot  of it is thanks to the budget that we have now approved.”

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