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Israel passes 2022 budget in key win for PM's coalition

November 5, 2021

The budget was key to helping Naftali's Bennett's fragile coalition remain stable until at least 2023, when he plans to pass the prime ministerial reins to his foreign minister, Yair Lapid.

Naftali Bennett, Sept. 19, 2021
Bennett's fragile coalition counts on support from right-wingers, centrists, leftists and Islamists Image: Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool/AP/picture alliance

After approving the budget for 2021 on Thursday, Israel's lawmakers on Friday approved a spending plan for 2022 as well.

Failing to get budget plans through parliament had toppled successive Israeli governments, leading to four elections in the space of two years.

Thursday's budget was the first spending plan to be passed since 2018. Failure to pass the 2021 budget by November 14 would have triggered a new round of elections by law.

Passing the 2022 budget was also seen as crucial for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's disparate coalition, as it should help secure the government until 2023, when Bennett is set to hand over the premiership to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. Failure to secure this might have unsettled coalition partners keen to see Lapid to take over. 

Bennett took to Twitter after the full package was passed on Friday, saying "Tonight we got Israel back on track."

Lapid called the government a "coalition of change" in a Tweet.

Israel approved a 573 billion (roughly $184 billion; €159 billion) shekel package for 2022, and passed a 609 billion shekel (roughly $194 billion; €168 billion) for 2021.

The coalition is made up of several ideological rivals — eight disparate parties including right-wingers, centrists, leftists and Islamists — that came together in their shared desire to oust former leader Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Netanyahu faces multiple corruption charges that he is currently fighting in courts. His shaky coalition was dissolved in December 2020 after parliamentarians failed to pass a budget, triggering elections in March 2021. 

rm/msh (Reuters, AFP)