The Cabinet began deliberations today over the $8.24 billion austerity budget presented by Finance Minister Yigal Hurwitz for fiscal year 1981. It will hold a special meeting devoted to the subject, possibly later this week, when a decision may be reached.
Hurwitzt’s budget, aimed at halting run-away inflation, demands drastic cuts in government spending, including the defense budget, and will also reduce public services, a politically dangerous move in an election year. But there would be no further levies on taxpayers. The Finance Minister worried that unless his plans are adopted, inflation, now at an annual rate of 150 percent, the highest in the world, will soar to 200 percent next year.
Hurwitz has implied that he would resign if the Cabinet rejected his budget, a move that could bring down Premier Menachem Begin’s shaky coalition government and lead to early elections. “Hurwitz met with Begin twice last week in an effort to secure his support, but apparently failed. Begin reportedly was disturbed by the proposed cuts in defense spending. A number of other Cabinet members were said to be unhappy with Hurwitz’s budget while others support it.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.