The Tzipi Livni Party presented an economic plan meant to be a middle ground
between the Likud and Labor on Monday, following a negative report on poverty in
Israel by NGO Latet.
“We oppose a wild open market where this government
feels it's responsible for everything, but won’t wave the red flag of monopolies
and too much government involvement like Labor suggests,” Livni
Speaking at a press conference at her party’s headquarters in Tel
Aviv, in a hall that had eight photos of her hanging on its walls, Livni
mentioned her past in the Likud. She described Likud ideological forebearer
Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s philosophy of government responsibility for housing,
medicine, housing, food and education.
“I grew up in a party that
embraced those who didn’t have much with dignity and a desire to make changes,”
she said of the Likud. “Only a new order of priorities will bring the necessary
“Equality in the burden of service and bringing everyone into
the workforce will give the government enough funds to help the
One change Livni mentioned is a law that details the government’s
responsibility to citizens, describing what is universal and what is
differential, according to income and other parameters.
Livni singled out
settlements as a political interest that “sucks up funds,” calling for the
government to stop investing in those who “don’t want peace.”
Amir Peretz, who is third on the party’s list, did not directly address their
very divergent opinions on economic matters, instead focusing on what they have
“I don’t come from a Jabotinsky household, but the public
should realize what [first Likud prime minister Menachem] Begin did for poor
families,” Peretz said. “He also made peace with Egypt. That is why we are
calling on Likudniks to vote for us.”
Peretz called for differential VAT,
which would consist of a lower rate for necessities and inexpensive items, and a
higher rate for luxury purchases.
“There would be 10 percent VAT on a
Subaru, 20% on a Mercedes,” he explained.
The former Labor leader
announced that The Tzipi Livni Party is working on a “revolutionary and
all-inclusive” economic plan, which would include housing, welfare, pensions,
and college tuition.
Peretz emphasized several times that his plan would
include the sources of funding for the policies, a dig at Labor leader Shelly
Yacimovich, who was criticized for not doing so.
“Every poverty report is
a major blow,” he added.
“Couples work hard and still can’t meet the
needs of their household. Parents should be able to pay for their children to do
after-school activities and for their family to use hospitals. We cannot become
a third world country.”
Earlier on Monday, Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich
said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu must deal with the nation’s poverty,
calling him “blind and indifferent.”
“Poverty isn’t a problem that can be
taken care of with one plan or a spin. It is a direct result of an economic
policy that is meant to crumble Israeli society, smashes the middle class and
drives the poor to dark places in which their children have to work, like in
third world countries,” she stated.
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett
called for haredim to be taken out of poverty by enlisting in the IDF and
joining the workforce gradually.
“Poverty is common in the haredi and
Arab communities at rates of 55% and 53% respectively,” Bennett explained. “The
main reason is because of low employment rates of haredi men and Arab women.
Increasing employment for these two populations, and giving them tools to do so,
is a top social and economic interest.”
Dr. Adi Kol, ninth on the Yesh
Atid list, said that “poverty in Israel is a social ticking time bomb that can
explode and tear apart the nation.”
“Israeli children are starving and
have to work to support their families, and the government does nothing,” she