Roughly 200 demonstrators gathered last night (Saturday) in front of new Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s north Tel Aviv home in protest of planned cuts to social services and benefits. The protesters demanded that the finance minister cover budget deficits by taxing the highest-earning Israelis, rather than cutting benefits to the poor and unemployed, as Lapid hinted he would do. The protest was organized by public housing activists and the “Ma’abarah“‘ and “Not Nice” groups.
Lapid came under fire last week after he posted a Facebook status promising to help “the average Israeli,”‘ but gave as an example an imaginary woman from Hadera whose household earnings are almost double the Israeli average. In his new budget, Lapid plans major cuts in government spending. On this issue, he enjoys the support of Prime Minister Netanyahu and settlers’ leader Naftali Bennett, both of whom share his neo-conservative economic ideology.