Wed, 22 Sep 2021

JERUSALEM, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Israel's cabinet started on Sunday to debate the state budget, after no budget has been approved for more than three years amid a political deadlock.

"After three years in which Israel has been working without a budget, the most basic tool for running a country, we are now submitting for cabinet approval the 2021-2022 budget," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at the beginning of a weekly cabinet meeting.

According to Bennett, the budget includes investments in public transportation, internet infrastructure and technology, and education.

"We are reducing bureaucracy and increasing competition, for everyone, but mainly for the weaker sectors," he said.

"This government is free to act on behalf of the general interest," the Israeli leader added.

The budget is expected to be brought for the approval of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in the next months. Passing the new budget in the parliament would be the first test for Bennett's new narrow coalition which has 61 seats in the 120-seat parliament.

During and after the two years of political deadlock and four elections, Israel has used a version of the state budget for 2019, which was approved in March 2018.

Bennett, leader of the pro-settler Yamina party and a former high-tech entrepreneur, was sworn in in June, ousting the country's longest-serving leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

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