As Israel's Government Approves State Budget, Tweeps Are Divided Over the Benefits it Will Bring

As Israel's Government Approves State Budget, Tweeps Are Divided Over the Benefits it Will Bring

After almost three years without a state budget, Israel’s government finally did it, agreeing on a number of reforms and the funds that would be allocated to implement them. 

One of the issues they agreed on was the opening of the market for competition and the removal of strict regulations that hamper imports into Israel. 

Other reforms they are trying to promote are the lifting of the pension age for women, breaking the monopoly on kosher services that are currently in the hands of the Rabbinate, creating a metro system in the centre of Israel, tackling the acute traffic jam problem and promoting a transition to green energy

The passing of the budget has already stirred a debate on social media platforms, with tweeps divided over the future reforms.

Cuts Are on the Horizon

For many, this budget is no more than a policy of cuts that will harm the weak and the poor.

“…This is a government that doesn’t work for its people”.

​”The current government is promoting a budget that introduces harsh economic decrees at the expense of underprivileged populations. In a reformed state, the government imposes taxes on the rich to help the poor. Only under Bennett do the tycoons keep their backs and impose taxes on the poor. Shame on you”.

​The opening of Israel for more imports is believed to put many Israeli manufacturers at risk. Specifically, it will affect the income of farmers and the agriculture sector that already vented anger at the government and staged rallies across the country

Other reforms have their own issues too. The bid to tackle the country’s acute traffic jam problem by introducing taxes on those entering the central cities of Israel during the peak hours could pose a challenge, primarily because travelling will cost more and in the absence of proper public transport, getting to work will be even more time-consuming for the majority of Israelis.

The environmental reforms which aim at encouraging the masses to drop their dependency on plastic disposables and cut the consumption of sweet beverages is believed to harm the Ultra-Orthodox, the Arab sector and other weak populations. The attempts to raise the pension age for women will force them to stay at work instead of providing them with generous state assistance.

But economic and social issues are not Israeli tweeps’ only concern, and some are worried that the budget is disproportionate, giving weight to the needs of the Arab community at the expense of Israel’s security. 

According to reports, Israel’s defence budget will see a boost of several million shekels and will stand at nearly $18 billion. The ministry of health and ministry of transportation are to receive $13 billion and $11.5 billion, respectively. In comparison, Arab municipalities and offices catering to the needs of that sector will get $16 billion, the highest sum since the establishment of the state in 1947.

“This budget is full of cuts and it will end up ruining families. Iran and Hezbollah are already on our borders. Hamas is setting our south ablaze, and the state is being sold to the Islamic movement,” wrote a tweep referring to the funds allocated to the Arab sector.

​”We don’t have a defence budget, we have an Abbas budget,” wrote another one in reference to the head of the Islamic party Mansour Abbas, who agreed to join the coalition in exchange for better funding to the Arab sector.

​Kudos to the Government 

However, not all tweeps share the same negative sentiment, and some have taken to social media platforms to praise the new government and the man who stands at its helm — Naftali Bennett.

“This is a great budget. It is a government that comes to work instead of the previous government that was here because of money and power. My thanks go out to the people of Israel, who decided to change the government. It was done too late but better late than never.”

​”Three years after the criminal from Ceasaria prevented Israel from having a budget, the government of change has come to work for the people”.

​It is early for them to celebrate. After being approved by the government, the budget will also need to get the consent of the Knesset, which will need to greenlight it by November. 

Although it is likely to pass, there are also chances that it will be rejected by the opposition, that has already vowed to hamper the move. 

​And if this is case, the future of Israel’s coalition looks bleak, whereas another round of elections might come sooner than expected. 

Sputnik / Vladimir Astapkovich

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