Jewish Home threatens to walk over budget

November 15, 2015  

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government faced a new crisis on Sunday after the Jewish Home party threatened to walk over plans to cut Israel’s education budget. 

Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich was not present at a budget debate in the Knesset Finance Committee on Sunday morning, while party chairman Naftali Bennett blasted the plans on Twitter. 

“I was unexpectedly told last night that the Treasury intends to cut nearly 200 million shekels from the education budget – a serious blow to the periphery and special education,” Bennett, who is also Israel’s Education Minister, wrote. 

“If the [cut] is not repealed, we will vote against the budget,” he threatened. 

The deadline to approve the state budget for 2015-2016 is this coming Thursday, and coalition officials are scrambling to find solutions for dissatisfied parties to prevent having to call new elections. 

Shas chairman Aryeh Deri has also made threats after his demands for 0% VAT on public transportation, as well as on the water and electricity of disadvantaged populations, were not met. 

Treasury officials are attempting to assuage Deri with a document to be published after the budget is ratified discussing the subject.

It remains to be seen if such a statement would have the intended effect and prompt Shas to vote in favor of the budget on Thursday. 

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