Netanyahu mocks Yesh Atid leader on economy

Prime minister fires back at Lapid in Knesset for saying he inherited an economic catastrophe from previous government.

June 3, 2013 22:37
1 minute read.
Yair Lapid

Yair Lapid with gay flag 370. (photo credit: Yair Lapid at meeting in Knesset, 3 June 2013.)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu fired back at Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid in the Knesset on Monday for saying last week that he inherited an economic catastrophe from the previous government when he took over as finance minister.

Speaking to Likud Beytenu’s weekly faction meeting, Netanyahu used statements praising the Israeli economy made by outgoing Bank of Israel Gov. Stanley Fischer to the Knesset Finance Committee to prove Lapid wrong. Netanyahu cited Israel’s high economic growth and low unemployment and made a point of contrasting the economic expertise of Fischer with that of Lapid.

“No one doubts Stanley Fischer’s professionalism and experience,” Netanyahu said. “Using basic facts, Fischer gave an important response to those who criticized the economic accomplishments of the previous government.”

The fight between Netanyahu and Lapid was just one example of tension amid the parties in the prime minister’s coalition that was evident in the Knesset on Monday.

Hatnua faction chairman Meir Sheetrit criticized Bayit Yehudi for vetoing the advancement of a bill proposed by his faction colleague Elazar Stern, that would widen the voting body for chief rabbi.

Sheetrit threatened to take steps against the coalition if Bayit Yehudi would not give in on the matter.

While Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett declined to respond to Sheetrit, he told MKs in his faction that he completely disagreed with Hatnua leader and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s calls to take legal steps to designate so-called “price-tag” incidents committed by Jews in Judea and Samaria against Palestinians as acts of terror.

Bennett downplayed such acts, referring to them as “ideological vandalism.” He said the government would be better off seeking to protect Jewish farmers in the Negev, who he says have been victimized by Beduin violence and theft.

“These are the real Zionists,” Bennett said referring to the farmers. “We must enforce Israeli law in the Negev.”

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