Following a long discussion that continued well into the night, the Cabinet early Thursday morning approved the budget for 2015-2016.
20 ministers voted in favor of the budget, and one abstained – Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
The budget for 2015 will stand at 330 billion shekels and at just over 343 billion shekels in 2016. The deficit in those years will be 2.9% of the GDP.
As part of the agreements that were approved, an extra 5 billion shekels will go to the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health will receive an extra 4.6 billion shekels, the Ministry of Public Security will receive 1.7 billion shekels, and 1.3 billion shekels will be dedicated to welfare.
Before the vote, agreements were reached between Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and a number of ministers who opposed the budget, including Economy Minister Aryeh Deri, as the two agreed to set up a committee to examine the implementation of Deri’s plan to apply 0% VAT for the underprivileged population in Israel.
Also, an agreement was reached with Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, according to which her ministry’s budget will be increased significantly over the next two years.
Regev said that the culture budget for 2015 -2016 will increase by 309 million shekels,. The sport budget will increase by 127 million shekels.
Kahlon welcomed the approval of the budget on Thursday morning and said, "Along with the benefits and easing the cost of living and housing supply, we are promoting big reforms, in a quantity not seen for many years, in order to generate significant growth."