Not just one year, but two – in one week.
Israel's nascent government passed perhaps its most crucial test by approving the 2022 budget in the early hours of Friday morning, capping a week of key votes that set in place the country's first budget in over three years.
“Tonight, we got Israel back on track,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett wrote on Twitter.
The 2021 budget was passed in the early hours of Thursday morning, followed by the Arrangements Law and now the 2022 budget which passed 59 to 56.
Bennett's diverse coalition, comprised of eight widely disparate political parties, was able to weather special interests and strong opposition – led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – to accomplish this week of milestones.
"We took responsibility. We kept our promise. We passed a budget for 2022 for the nation and the citizens of Israel," Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on social media.
"On June 13, when he was sworn in as Israel’s young new prime minister, few political analysts held any hope that Naftali Bennett could hold this unprecedented, unconventional and razor-thin government coalition together for the next five months. Much less pass a budget," ALL ISRAEL NEWS reported yesterday. "But today Israelis saw their 49-year-old first-time premier accomplish a near-impossible task."
This is something Netanyahu was unable to do in his last few years of a 12-year run as prime minister and, ultimately, what led to high discontent among Israeli voters.
For Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the vote was also personal. Gantz was slated to become prime minister under a rotation deal with Netanyahu in 2020, but a budget was never passed leading to the government's collapse.
“I feel that the passage of the budget is a victory for the country, but also a personal victory for me,” Gantz tweeted. “Those who acted out of personal interests and caused great damage to the country and its citizens are in the opposition, and those who look out for Israeli citizens are in the coalition.”
Netanyahu was accused of blocking attempts to pass a two-year budget in 2020 in order to prevent Gantz from taking over as premier.
The passage of the budget this week gives this fragile government a lifeline – they had to pass a budget by Nov. 14 or the government would collapse (again) and snap elections called – and it also gives it a boost of confidence as it navigates left-wing, right-wing, centrist and Islamic parties all in one coalition.
Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS