Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman criticized the leadership candidates of
Kadima and Labor on Tuesday after they took turns slamming the housing plan
unveiled by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
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Speaking at an event at
Jerusalem’s International Convention Center, Lieberman said the issue should “be
put back into perspective” amid Israel’s growing economy compared to economic
troubles in Europe and the US.
“Look at the crises the European Union is
facing,” Lieberman said.
“There is now a second plan being implemented to
rescue Greece. Look at the economic hardships in the US. Here, thank God, we
In terms of macroeconomics, we’re still okay. In Europe,
they’re saying our troubles are troubles of the rich. Let’s put things back into
perspective,” the foreign minister added.”
Kadima‘s Tzipi Livni said
Netanyahu was acting to bring down the protest tents that have been erected
across the country when he should be working to build houses.
changing economic policies and managing those bodies under [his control],
Netanyahu is shirking responsibility, continuing to spread slogans that won’t
solve the social problems and lessen the burden of young people and the state of
building in Israel,” Livni said.
“Netanyahu doesn’t understand that the
problem isn’t technical, but fundamental.
In order to solve the country’s
problems, we need complete national political change, not marginal
Kadima leadership candidate Shaul Mofaz called Netanyahu’s
plan a “Bibibluff.”
He said Netanyahu acted too late and was merely
trying to “cover his behind.”
Labor leadership candidate Isaac Herzog
said “Netanyahu’s plans will never be implemented, just like all of his others
haven’t been, including the train to Eilat.” The public, he said, “doesn’t buy
Fellow candidate Amram Mitzna said “Netanyahu once again
proved that he is very good at explaining things but does not know how to get
the country out of the mud.”
Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich sharply disagreed
with Netanyahu’s assertion Tuesday that state ownership of land constituted an
economically, unhealthy monopoly.
“The fact that most of the land in
Israel is controlled by the state is not a market failure, it is Zionist and
[holds] environmental value,” Yacimovich said.
“The attempt to connect
the state’s control of the land to the housing shortage is an attempt to
misguide the public and a cynical attempt at using demonstrations as an excuse
to initiate destructive economic polices that will harm the middle class and
Much of the prime minister’s plan to solve the housing
crisis will be implemented in the relevant ministries, however a number of bills
will have to be passed in order to make the reforms possible.
national building and planning committees bill, which is meant to circumvent
bureaucracy in the construction process, is likely to pass with the coalition’s
support when it is brought to a vote in the Knesset next
Opposition MKs have already submitted their objections to the
bill, with Kadima focusing on its general tone.
“The bill lists
accessible housing as one of its goals, but it doesn’t have any details,” a
Kadima spokesman said. “How can we pass a law that is so vague? This bill is
like a car without an engine. It looks great, but it can’t actually
In addition, most bills in the government’s Lands Authority
reform, which Netanyahu has said will lead to lower land prices, have already
passed with little fanfare or objections from the opposition.
bills in the reform are expected to be brought to second and third (final)
readings in the plenum next week.
Israel Beiteinu plans to continue
voting in favor of Netanyahu’s housing reforms, although Lieberman expressed
disappointment last week at the prime minister’s opposition to parliamentary
inquiry committees into the activities of nongovernmental organizations that
harm the IDF. Lieberman also accused the Likud of selective application of
“We know how to separate the issues, and we will
continue to support the reforms,” a party spokesman said.Michael
Omer-Man and Steven Terner contributed to this report.