Israel adopts revised wartime budget

Israel’s parliament said Wednesday it had adopted a revised budget for 2024 allowing for more spending to finance the war against Hamas, now in its six month.

The new budget passed by a vote of 62 lawmakers to 55.

It modifies the budget passed in May 2023, increasing the spending limit by 70.4 billion shekels ($19.4 billion), or more than 14 percent, according to a statement from Israel’s legislature, the Knesset.

Of that amount, 55 billion shekels could be allocated to the military and 15.5 billion could go “to finance civilian needs”, the statement said.

Finance minister Bezalel Smotrich celebrated the passing of the new “war budget” on X, saying: “Together we will win.”

Parliament had already voted in December for an increase to the 2023 budget for the war against Hamas, boosting the previously approved spending figure by 30 billion shekels.

The war in Gaza was triggered by Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures.

Israel’s retaliatory military campaign to eliminate Hamas has killed at least 31,272 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

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