Knesset Adopts First Annual Budget; Normal Expenses, Developments Total $285,000,000

The Knesset of Israel today adopted the nation’s first annual budget — a two-part budget totalling 95,000,000 pounds ($285,000,000). The votes by which the budget was adopted were 58 to 25 on the section providing for the normal expenses of government and 60 to 25 on a special allotment for capital developments projects.

The normal expenses section amounted to $120,000,000 while the developmental projects totalled $165,000,000. Originally, Finance Minister Eliezer Kaplan asked $186,000,000 for capital developments. It is expected that the ordinary services budget will be financed by internal revenue and the developments budget will be covered by loans from the Export-Import Bank and by state loans among Israel banking institutions secured by collateral in the form of government property.

The highest expenditure provided for in the normal services budget was $22,500,000 for defense purposes. In addition, a secret defense budget may be adopted by the Parliamentary Defense Committee. The Health Ministry received a budget of $10,500,000, the second highest of any government department. It is anticipated that the income tax will realize some $26,000,000, customs duties will amount to $24,000,000, and the income from the postal and telecommunications departments is expected to come to $15,000,000.

The Knesset’s action came after a late night debate. The question facing the body was either passage of the entire annual budget or adoption of another monthly stopgap allocation. The budget is retroactive to April.

Among the counterproposals to the government coalition’s budget was one by the Mapam calling for an overall annual budget of $129,000,000, to be raised partly by a tax on property which would bring in an estimated $36,000,000. The Herut suggested an overall budget of $87,000,000, cutting out a number of items which were included in the government’s final budget.

BEN GURION APPOINTS COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE CHARGES OF CORRUPTION

The Knesset today rejected a demand by the Mapam that it appoint a commission to investigate reports of corruption in the Army purchasing department and in the fiscal administration. Premier David Ben Gurion told the Parliament that he had received a letter from Mapam leaders Yitzhak Ben Aharon and Yaacov Riftin containing numerous, unspecified accusations and charges and that he, the Premier, had decided to appoint a commission of four men — three members of the Knesset Security Committee and one Supreme Court Justice — to investigate the charges.

The Knesset internal affairs committee decided to recommend the appointment of Siegfried Moses for the post of state comptroller, one of the highest and most important appointive positions in that it vests the appointee with wide powers to and it the government’s accounting records as well as those of all national institutions. Dr. Moses comes from Germany where, for a lengthy period, he was a well-known Zionist leader.

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