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Opposition to Government’s $13.5 Billion Budget for Fiscal 1977-78

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Premier Yitzhak Rabin’s minority government submitted its $13.5 billion Dollar budget for fiscal 1977-78 to the Knesset yesterday but ran into stonewall opposition from Likud, the National Religious Party and its reluctant coalition partner, the Independent Liberals. The budget will come up for its first reading next week. But Yisrael Kargmann of the Labor Alignment. chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, said that even if it passed the first reading, it might not weather the second and third readings.

In that case, the government would have to present an interim budget pending the May 17 elections and leave the final budget to the next government. Likud demanded that the draft be returned to the government and its members said they would entertain no compromise. Avraham Melamed, chairman of the NRP Knesset faction proposed a six-month budget based on the current one except for a few changes to promote exports. The NRP rejected an appeal by Finance Minister Yehoshua Rabinowitz to have the budget referred to the Finance Committee where the proposed changes could be discussed. The ILP, which remains in the caretaker government only because the Supreme Court invalidated the resignations of its two ministers, insisted that the budget be cut by $2 billion. If not, the ILP said it would not support the government. Yitzhak Golan, of the ILP observed pointedly that if the government failed to gain Knesset approval of its draft budget on first reading, if would be “an unprecedented disgrace” that would doubtlessly reflect on the Labor Alignment in the coming elections.

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