Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is turning Israel into South Africa,
opposition leader Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) said in his speech opening the Knesset’s
winter session on Monday.
“Stop trying to scare everyone and say we could
turn into Greece or Spain,” Mofaz said. “I think you’re turning us into South
Africa of last century.”
Mofaz did not specify whether he was calling
Netanyahu’s policies apartheid-like or if he meant the prime minister is leading
Israel to international isolation.
The Kadima leader began his speech by
saying that in over three months Israelis will go to the voting booth and will
have to ask themselves if their lives are any better than they were four years
“Are we a better country? More just? More sensitive to our citizens?
More united? Stronger?” Mofaz asked.
“The answer is clear to all, and is
not an election slogan that can hide the truth. No spin can cover the failures
of the Netanyahu-led government.”
According to Mofaz, in the past four
years Israel has become “weaker, more isolated, more divided, more closed-off and
more full of fear.”
The Kadima head pointed to Netanyahu’s seat, saying
it was once occupied by former prime ministers David Ben- Gurion, Menachem
Begin, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon, who had vision,
responsibility and courage to build Israel, strengthen it and lead it through
stormy seas. He did not mention former prime minister and Defense Minister Ehud
“[Those prime ministers] did not fear or use fear-mongering, but
Netanyahu is not a brave leader. He is not part of the courageous Zionist
leadership,” he stated.
The opposition leader repeatedly mentioned fear
and scare tactics, saying that Netanyahu is trying to convince the public he is
going to elections in order to pass a responsible budget, but in reality the
prime minister is weak and afraid.
Netanyahu is motivated by fear, said
Mofaz, he’s afraid to make decisions and he’s afraid of what his coalition
partners will say. “Cold sweat is not a recipe for leadership.”
accused Netanyahu of not dealing with replacing the Tal Law or lowering the cost
of living and affordable housing.
“A responsible policy does not ignore
the demand for social justice, and does not give out gifts with one hand and
stick its other hand in the citizens’ pockets in order to pay for them,” he