Lapid addressing the knesset 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Thursday the harshest cuts in his controversial
budget were aimed at haredim in hopes of pushing them into the labor
“I already cut for the haredim more than ever has been,” he said
in a Facebook chat Thursday night, alluding to cuts in child allowances that
disproportionally affect the ultra-Orthodox community, whose birth rate is four
times the Israeli average. “Israel doesn’t need a culture of allowances, but a
culture of work.”
“What are child allowances? Child allowances say ‘I
have kids but want someone else to pay.’ Who is paying? Someone else who has
kids, who is taking from his kids and giving to others’ kids,” Lapid said. The
cuts, he continued, “act to push people to the job market.”
responsibility for children, he said, was not to subsidize their families, but
to provide education and a productive army experience.
bring children into the world and say someone else should pay their bills.
Allowances don’t prevent poverty, allowances perpetuate poverty.”
questioner, who said he was a full-time yeshiva student, complained that cuts
would leave his family short of money, and said his wife would have to divorce
him to obtain a subsidy for single mothers in order for their family to survive.
Isn’t that a “piggish” intervention in his wife’s private life, the man asked?
Lapid’s response: “There’s another option – that you’ll work.” Noting that the
man would only need to work for 10 hours a week to bridge the difference, Lapid
shot back, his decision not to work was the gross intervention into his wife’s
“The Rambam was a doctor,” Lapid added in reference to
Maimonides, the great rabbi of the middle ages, “and still managed to be the
Lapid’s video chat was part of a media offensive to shore up
support for his budget, which included tax increases and welfare cuts that
critics construed as a departure from campaign promises not to harm the middle
“Everything that we’re doing today is to ensure that the middle
class doesn’t become poor,” Lapid said. “This pain is very temporary. We will
come out of it in a year or a year and a half.”
Saying that “fixes” was a
better word than “cuts,” Lapid reiterated his talking points of recent days:
that the disabled, elderly, Holocaust survivors were shielded from cuts, while
the country continued to invest in education. The middle class, he said, would
reap many benefits in upcoming economic reforms, which he said would lower the
cost of living.