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Israeli parliament returns to session amid continued judicial overhaul controversy

The government has until the end of May to pass the new budget, potentially facing declining state revenues

Right-wing Israelis attend a rally in support of the government's planned judicial overhaul, outside the Knesset in Jerusalem, April 27, 2023. (Photo: Erik Marmor/Flash90)

The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, reopened on Sunday for its summer session amid continued divisions concerning the government’s judicial overhaul plans. 

While the media has been almost exclusively focused on judicial reform issues, finalizing the state budget for 2023 a long overdue crucial action item on the agenda for Israel’s lawmakers.

The government has until the end of May 2023 to pass the new budget, potentially facing declining state revenues due to the ongoing legal reforms. This has made Israeli and international investors nervous about further investments in the Israeli economy. 

By March, Israel had already posted its first budget deficit in nine months.

The government is also facing the challenge of increased expenses as a result of coalition agreements, including extra funding for ultra-Orthodox schools and investments in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

In addition, the rise in Israel's cost of living continues to cause major concern.

David Bitan, a veteran Likud party lawmaker and head of the Knesset Economic Committee, recently criticized his government for failing to address the country’s high and growing cost of living. He said he believes that the disproportionate focus on the judicial overhaul harms the country in the long-term. 

“Unfortunately, did you see one Likud MK who was concerned with the issue of the price of milk? Not one member of the faction tweeted about it,” lamented Bitan. 

The rising cost of dairy products is a sensitive issue in Israeli society. Decades ago, a price hike on cottage cheese became a focal point of widespread protests against the increasingly high cost of living in Israel.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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