"Netanyahu has failed in managing Israel's economy. He has lost touch with economic reality, and he is jeopardizing the country's economic future," said Labor Party chairwoman MK Shelly Yachimovich in response to the publication of Israel's budget deficit yesterday and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's nonchalance about it.
Yachimovich, "The scandalous deficit that Netanyahu has created, which means an annual check of NIS 18,000 that every family will have to pay after the elections, proves more than anything else the crash of Netanyahu's hollow economic structure of many pretty words but no solid foundations. Netanyahu is only interested in Netanyahu, and to hell with the middle class."
Yachimovich added, "Netanyahu is lying to the public when he says that he won't raise taxes on the middle class after the elections. So long as Netanyahu continues as prime minister, it does not matter who will hold his hand or sit next to him, he will continue the same policies that have shattered Israel in the past decade - cuts and tax hikes on the middle class."
Yesterday, the Ministry of Finance announced that the budget deficit in 2012 was NIS 39 billion, or 4.2% of GDP, more than double the 2% deficit in the original budget; and the Central Bureau of Statistics reported that trade deficit ballooned 142% in 2010-12 to over NIS 70 billion.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response, "The deficit was more or less expected." He added, "I don’t think it will have a significant effect on the country's people." Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz said that the deficit was known in advance, and that there would be no new tax hikes this year.
Yachimovich said that, after the elections, Netanyahu will enact austerity measures totaling billions of shekels, which will cost every Israeli family NIS 18,000. "He will cancel free education for preschoolers, reduce the basket of healthcare services, wipe out the Chief Scientist's budget, and raise VAT - and he continue the tax exemptions for the strongest."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 14, 2013
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013