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Lapid apes PM's cartoon: Red line for middle class
By LAHAV HARKOV
25/12/2012
Center-Left parties attack Netanyahu over socio-economic issues at 'Calcalist' conference in Tel Aviv.
 
Center-Left parties blasted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for his economic policies at the “Forecast 2013” conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid mocking Netanyahu with a bomb drawing of his own.

Lapid lifted up a drawing of a bomb with percentages representing tax increases for the middle class, saying he is speaking the only language the prime minister understands.

“Pay attention, sir,” he stated, addressing Netanyahu, who did not attend the conference sponsored by economic newspaper Calcalist. “This is the bomb, this is the fuse.

This is what old politics brought to the Israeli middle class. These are the taxes your government raised in one term.”

Lapid drew a red line on the diagram, saying the middle class is falling apart while the government invests in haredim, settlers and 34 ministers “who throw our money in the trash.” “The next tax increase is our ‘red line,’ and we won’t let it happen. Yesh Atid is the party of the middle class, and we will not allow the torture of citizens to continue,” he stated.

Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich criticized Likud Beytenu for not revealing its postelection economic plan.

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“Netanyahu, what are you planning for the day after? What aren’t you revealing to us?” she asked. “[Likud Beytenu] has no vision and Netanyahu has no answers.”

According to Yacimovich, Labor is the only party to present a detailed economic plan, including budgetary sources, which she said will come from stopping tax breaks for the wealthy and royalties from natural resources.

“I’m happy to hear criticism about my plan, because what we’re missing is a discussion of economic plans. Let’s have that conversation,” she said.

The Labor leader accused Netanyahu of trying to “put the discussion [about economics] to sleep,” because it reveals his weakness.

Yacimovich pointed out that the January 22 election was called because Netanyahu said he would be unable to pass his budget, which she said “strangles the middle class” and is a “classic budget of [negative] decrees from conservatives.”

Tzipi Livni explained that there is a direct connection between economic and diplomatic affairs, mentioning major international economic conferences.

“Whoever thinks ‘economic’ and ‘diplomatic’ can be separated has no idea what he is talking about,” The Tzipi Livni Party leader said in an apparent dig at Yacimovich, who has been criticized for avoiding diplomatic issues. “There was once a prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, who led a diplomatic process and a real change in national priorities. It’s surprising that the party that’s supposed to be continuing in his path ignores those two elements.”

“We can’t allow a situation in which European consumers start to reconsider whether to buy products from Israel or economists debate if they should invest in Israel, when they hear its prime minister say we are on the verge of destruction,” she added.
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