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Activists hold first protest against Israeli Finance Minister Lapid

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.

Public housing and other social activists protesting in front of the house of new Finance Minister Yair Lapid. April 6, 2013 (photo: Yotam Ronen / Activestills)

Public housing and other social activists protesting in front of the house of new Finance Minister Yair Lapid. April 6, 2013 (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Public housing and other social activists protesting in front of the house of new Finance Minister Yair Lapid. April 6, 2013 (photo: Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org)

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    1. The Trespasser

      פריירים לא נגמרים.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Giora Me'ir

      Lapid’s Likud’s left.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Why do these protesters think Israelis should be free of the oppression of oligarchy which makes the rich richer and the poor poorer world-wide, even in the USA?

      However, I wish them luck. If anyone anywhere can beat the oligarchs, they have some hope to wrest control of their government from the power of big money back to (gasp) democracy, that is, the power of the people.

      And, who knows? Governance by distributed power (democracy) may work better, at least in Israel, than governence by concentrated power (the power of the very rich, oligarchy).

      Reply to Comment
      • Richard Lightbown

        Whatever do you mean: “even in the USA”? Whatever do you expect in that screwed up country? Freedom? Democracy? Equality in law? Concern for the environment? …Jeez! What’s the weather like on Mars?

        Reply to Comment
    4. rsgengland

      Every country that overtaxes its wealthy, finds itself in severe financial difficulties a few years later.
      The people that generate wealth, and employment, tend to be the wealthy.
      High taxes drive away the wealth, and job creators, to more benign financial climes.
      The easiest way for a country to shoot itself in the foot is to increase the burden of taxation.

      Reply to Comment
      • Giora Me'ir

        Thank you for chiming in, Mitt.

        Reply to Comment
      • Eliza

        Rsgengland – Tell that to the Greeks.

        There’s a reason economics is called the dismal science. Any State which does not cover its expenditure by tax revenue over the long term, will eventually implode. How do you think the USA will look in 5 or 10 years unless it can control its public debt? What will be the social consequences in this gun loving society if a signficant number of its citizens cannot access education, health and housing?

        But don’t fall for the line that it only consumption and/or investment by the wealthy which creates jobs. Reasonable tax transfers from the wealthy to the poor allows the creation of employment in no small measure because the poor generally expend all of their income.

        Of course wealthy corporations will rove the world looking for low taxing regimes (as well as low labour costs) if not state subsidies. Then there is social and political stability which is attractive to investors – hard to achieve that if a state has little social capital due to inequities between the few rich and the many poor. And so we go around.

        Reply to Comment
    5. I know nothing of the Israeli economy or its corporate tax structure, but I suspect the government is far from neutral when it comes to benefits direct (subsidies) or indirect (reduced taxes, protectionist law). What Lapid seems to be signaling is that his party’s election sees no debt to the frustrations expressed by J14 two + years ago. I doubt the Israeli electorate is motivated (absent settler expansion for some) ideologically, but if Lapid remains true to this signal he might well provide opportunity for Labor–if they can figure out how to use it. Frustration doesn’t go away simply because you say it must.

      Reply to Comment

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