It’s a wonder how Israel remains in somewhat economically good standing, given that it hasn’t functioned with an approved budget for the last three years. The past two years were null due to the political standstill. The last budget approved was in 2018 for the following year.
With the new government, a 2021/2022 budget ($187 billion for 2021, $173 billion for 2022) has been proposed, and it needs a full Knesset approval by November 4. If the budget does go forward, there are a number of reforms they hope to make in order to make efforts to ease the economy. Health reforms include taxes placed on sugary drinks and plasticware, in hopes of reducing both problematic products utilized so widely by the public. Health Minister Nitsan Horowitz also hopes for a NIS 2 billion increase in the healthcare budget to create more mental health centers, serve public hospitals, subsidize more medicines, and bring in new medical technologies for patients in need.
For the elder generation, reforms include an added stipend, as well as an extension for female retirement age. Within 11 years, the age will be raised from 62 to 65, which will hopefully fuel more opportunities for older women in the workforce, create more balance in the wage gap, and stabilize national insurance funds.
A few more notable reforms include transportation, with continued work on the Tel Aviv metro set to be complete by 2032, and a fee put in place for private cars driving into Tel Aviv during rush hour traffic, set to launch in 2024. A loosened import tax on produce, electronics, toys, cosmetics, international goods, as well as opening business and banking sectors will ensue, in hopes of removing the monopoly and creating more competition among global players.
In terms of housing, a reform states that there would be more allotted homes for the elderly, and help for couples who want to purchase their first homes.