2009 Budget Passes by One Vote

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - The Olmert coalition approved the 2009 budget by a one-vote margin, with 13 voting for the budget, 12 against and one abstention.

Kadima party ministers Tzipi Livni (Foreign Ministry), Avi Dichter (Public Security), Ze'ev Boim (Housing and Construction), and Ruhama Avraham-Balila (Tourism) voted for the budget, as did GIL Pensioners' Party ministers Rafi Eitan and Ya'acov Ben-Yizri.

According to The Jerusalem Post, these five ministers were told they would receive additional funding in exchange for their support for budget.

The 12 Labor party ministers voted against the budget, as did four Shas party ministers. Transportation Minister Sha'ul Mofaz was the only member of Olmert's party to oppose the budget.

Deputy Premier Haim Ramon's abstention effectively allowed the budget to pass.

Cabinet ministers argued for 16 hours before passing the budget by a one-vote margin Sunday evening, bringing the debate to an end, at least for the present.

Speaking with Israel Radio Monday morning, Israel Manufacturers Association head Shraga Brosh said the budget failed to address the recession facing the nation.

"The lack of leadership displayed by the Treasury over the last few months is unacceptable," Brosh said.

Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon (Labor) said though the Cabinet passed the budget, it would undergo significant changes when it's brought before the Knesset in a few months.

Responding to a statement from the prime minister's office that passing the budget "sends a message of stability to the international and Israeli markets," Labor MK (member of Knesset) Eitan Cabel, said it's wrong to base the budget on political agendas.

"The markets that the prime minister wants to stabilize so much also read financial and political journalism, and everyone is aware of the fact that on September 17, Kadima is convening to decide who will lead the party after Olmert," Cabel told Army Radio.

"Therefore, making this a political issue is a mistake. For the first time in a long time, Labor ministers presented a position, backed it and did what they should have done in light of the harsh and bad budget proposal. Pensioners' party ministers voted very inappropriately. This was not a political battle, but a moral issue," he said.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, YNet news

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