Israeli Radio Reshet Bet reported on Monday that the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu He is considering the option of closing some small government ministries, in an attempt to control expenses.
The radio reported that the discussion is currently centered around the possibility of keeping the minister’s appointment in his position despite the closure of his ministry, in order to avoid a possible coalition crisis, so that he remains a minister without a portfolio.
The government session is expected to be held next Thursday to discuss the general budget, and until then those close to Netanyahu are trying to formulate a decision regarding the ministers in the small ministries that are likely to be dispensed with and closed.
The radio added, “The budget in its current form may lead to the dismantling of the emergency government.”
A few days ago, the Israeli Channel 12 reported that Netanyahu is considering reducing the budgets of government offices and transferring their funds to cover the costs of the war that Israel is waging against. Gaza strip.
She added at the time that the Ministry of Finance recommended closing 10 ministries, but Netanyahu said that he would present other proposals, but they would be less symbolic from an economic standpoint.
These events came as Central Bank Governor Amir Yaron – in a press conference at the beginning of the year – urged the Prime Minister to quickly reduce public spending before the market reacts badly if the government fails to do so.
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said that the Cabinet is scheduled to approve the war budget for 2024 next Thursday, after the ministers approved financial support worth 9 billion shekels ($2.5 billion) for reservists.
Last week, the Finance Ministry said that the war would likely cost at least another 50 billion shekels ($14 billion) in 2024.
The ministry stated in a report submitted to the Knesset (Parliament) that if the war continues until next February, it will lead to an increase in the 2024 budget deficit to approximately three times, by about 6% of the gross domestic product.
Before any amendments, the current year’s budget in Israel – which was initially approved in May 2023 – amounts to about 514 billion shekels ($140 billion).
On December 4, 2023, the Finance Ministry raised its estimate of the cost of the war on the Gaza Strip to 191 billion shekels ($51 billion) over the past year, with operations continuing by air, land, and sea.
The Ministry's previous estimates indicated 163 billion shekels ($44 billion), preceded by estimates of 8 billion US dollars.
Since October 7, 2023, the Israeli army has been waging a devastating war on the Gaza Strip that, as of Sunday, left 22,835 martyrs, 58,416 wounded, most of them children and women, massive infrastructure destruction, and an unprecedented humanitarian disaster.
Source : Israeli press + Anatolia Agency