'Social protests important, starting new discussions'

Barak says tent protesters carry tax burden, would fold up tents tomorrow if called to reserve army service; cautions of economic storm.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Shayetet navy boat 311 (photo credit: Defense Ministry / Ariel Hermoni)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Shayetet navy boat 311
(photo credit: Defense Ministry / Ariel Hermoni)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak addressed the social protests gripping the country on Tuesday during a visit to a navy base.
“The social protest is an important and exciting phenomenon that has led us into new discussions,” he said. The protest’s “demands for a change in priorities, including [economic] inequality, are very important,” the defense minister added.
“Those on [Rothschild Boulevard], including the heads of students groups and youth groups... people who work and who carry the tax burden, these are the same people that in an emergency situation would fold up their tents and immediately head to reserve military service.”
Barak continued, “We need to be aware of and appreciative of them.”
However, the defense minister added, the world and our region are in the middle of an economic storm, pointing to the troubles of countries like Spain and Greece, while noting possible security threats in the region and from Iran. For those reasons, he said, “We must act responsibly and decisively” when making changes to the economy.
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