(photo credit: AP [file])
President Shimon Peres believes the state should sell some of its unused assets to alleviate the budget deficit, Knesset Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni said Thursday.
"The president rightly said there are many large properties owned by the government, such as the Tzrifin army base, the Jaffa Port... and more, some of which are not in use or can be transferred to the Negev and, if sold, can be used to fill the government coffers with billions of dollars," he said at a committee session. "Why shouldn't we do it? We are in very difficult economic situation, and all sectors of the population are required to pay a very heavy price.
"When a family has assets but has no money to eat, the family sells the assets to buy food. Why are things different here? Why does the state need to put all the burden on the weak by increasing various taxes and issuing edicts, instead of selling valuable properties that are not in use?"
Gafni said Peres's suggestion could be worth billions of shekels. He said he wasn't certain it was feasible, but would pass it on to the relevant agencies.
In response, Kadima MK Shai Hermesh said, "With all due respect, the suggestion to sell state assets to help overcome the deficit is a bad one that would be regretted for generations... It reminds me of Monopoly, where the player who decides to sell his assets instead of developing them is the first one who goes bankrupt."