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Israel names new finance ministry chief as 2023 budget work starts

REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
The cabinet last month approved the budget draft that the finance ministry expects will be fully ratified by the end of May

Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich has named attorney Shlomi Heisler as director general of the finance ministry.

Heisler was most recently head of the National Infrastructure Committee and is now the most senior civil servant at the treasury. He replaces Ram Belinkov, who on Tuesday said he was stepping down amid the new government taking office this week.

The first order of business for Smotrich and Heisler is to formulate a 2023 state budget, which must be approved within 145 days from when the new government was established, or late in May.

“We are starting the work on building a responsible state budget that leans towards growth and infrastructure and will have a series of structural reforms in the economy to remove barriers, fight against centralisation, and promote competition and growth engines,” Smotrich said.

The ministry said it was aiming for a cabinet vote on the budget draft in mid February, an initial parliamentary vote by the end of March and final approval in late May.

At Smotrich’s request, Belinkov is staying on a few extra days until the sale of the Haifa seaport is completed, the ministry said.