Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Tuesday night that he was prepared to go to “war” over his budget, which he said would include cuts to defense and changes in long-standing agreements.
Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, Lapid said, “You know that there will be war over several of the things I’ve outlined here, perhaps over all of them. I say let there be war.”
Lapid said the deficit constraints meant the Treasury would have to look into “every old agreement that they tell us they can’t touch ‘because that’s the way it always was.’” Fresh off a two-day airline strike, the Histadrut Labor Federation said Monday that it was forming a united front with union leaders in the fields of medicine, teaching and university students in preparation for budget talks.
Lapid said the central guiding factor for the budget was to aid “the working man,” the Israeli citizens who work and pay taxes. Among the problems Lapid highlighted as “betraying” Israel’s workers: low state royalties on natural resource extraction, healthy people living on disability payments, narrow interests controlling the country’s ports, public services and product prices, high daycare costs, housing benefits that put those who serve in the army at a disadvantage and water prices that are 4% too high because of inefficiencies in the market.