One of the most odious features of the bi-annual budget approved by the cabinet last week and slated for an upcoming Knesset vote is the tax hike for the middle class (including a one-point increase in both VAT and income tax for anyone earning a dime above the average monthly wage of $2,100), contrasted with a ludicrous one-off $7 billion tax break for several huge multinationals. The note below, posted by a young IDF female soldier named Sapir Bachar on Netanyahu’s Facebook wall, garnered nearly 80,000 “likes” – a huge number in Israeli terms. It’s a very good illustration of just how absurd the situation of the Israeli middle class has become:
I’m a conscript soldier, 19 years old, from Kfar Saba. I’m writing to you on Facebook since this is the only place I can express myself, as I’m banned by law from taking part in demonstrations. Most of my childhood memories mingle with flashbacks of loud fights between my mom and my dad over money, savings, the household, gas money and so on. I’m sure your kids never had to watch you and your wife fight over money. Anyway, their relationship was ruined and dad left the house when I was seven years old. This is when my childhood ends. Since then, my mother has worked morning and overnight shifts and studied for her first degree simultaneously. She didn’t have time to take care of us so I fed, washed and watched over my little brothers, did homework with them and broke up their fights. Since age 14 I’ve worked to support myself, to be able to go out once in a while, buy a shirt every now and then, buy a cellphone and save up money for a trip to Poland or a driver’s license. Yes, it was either-or. Today I’m a 19-year-old soldier, I still don’t have a driver’s license, and since my monthly soldier paycheck is $89, I also need to work weekends for a humiliating minimum wage. When I come home in the evening I still have house chores because my mom is working so hard, for so many hours. I’d say it’s worth it if it wasn’t for the fact you tax her for 40 percent of her salary. Yes, Bibi, nearly half of the time she’s working each month is going down the drain. Actually, not down the drain: It’s going to you and your friends sitting up there, laughing to themselves.