ISRAELI GOVT APPROVES 2019 BUDGET OF 117 BLN USD
Last Updated: 2018-01-13
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JERUSALEM, Jan 13 (NNN-Xinhua) -- Israel's government approved on Friday the draft budget for 2019 of NIS (Israeli New Shekel) 397.3 billion (116.6 billion U.S. dollars), following an overnight marathon session.

In debates since Thursday morning, the ministers tried to reduce budget cuts in their ministries' expenditure. Following the debates, the government agreed to a 5-billion-shekel (1.47 billion U.S. dollars) cut in all of the ministries.

In a bid to secure the coalition's stability, the ministers also signed an agreement pledging that no party or lawmaker would raise fiscal demands when the budget is handed to the parliament for approval in the next few months.

The Israeli parliament (Knesset) needs to vote on the budget in three rounds of votes before it gets its final approval.

The budget includes several reforms, according to a statement released by the Finance Ministry. The changes include tax cuts for working families, an agreement with Israel's main labor union on shortening the work time from 186 hours per month to 182 hours, increasing nursing services for the elders, cutting on school vacation days, and exports of Cannabis products.

Following the vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement saying the budget is "excellent."

According to Netanyahu, it "reflects our consistent and responsible policies - a budget that, on one hand, maintains growth and economic strength, on the other hand, takes care of the social needs of all Israeli citizens."--NNN-XINHUA