Shelly Yacimovich at the President's residence 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) berated Finance Minister Yair Lapid
for his economic plans on Sunday, less than a week after he was sworn into
Yacimovich responded to a lengthy post by Lapid on the Yesh Atid
website from late Saturday night, in which he warned Israelis that they should
expect a difficult year while the government dealt with its
“Lapid wakes up in the morning and sounds exactly, and I
mean exactly, like [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu,” the Labor leader wrote
on her Facebook page.
“My brothers the workers, we will continue being
the ATM of the country and pay the price,” she continued. “My brothers the
workers, I don’t understand economics, as I told you honestly, but I got my
first lessons from Finance Ministry bureaucrats,” she added, mocking
According to Yacimovich, Lapid will bring cuts and “evil decrees”
like Netanyahu, but will announce them through Facebook and smile while using
words like “values” and “vision.”
Lapid “learned the material fast, and
within a few hours understood that you [the public] are to blame for the
situation, and are the only ones I can milk. [He will] bring decrees and cuts,
and don’t you dare blame anyone but yourselves,” she wrote
Yacimovich said Lapid and the Finance Ministry bureaucrats
will raise VAT, instead of taxing the rich, while major corporations will not
“Something old is continuing,” the Labor leader wrote,
spoofing the Bayit Yehudi slogan “something new is beginning.”
Rivlin (Likud Beytenu) said attacks on the expected budget cuts were
“Israel’s economy is influenced mostly by the world
crisis, and at the moment, the Finance Ministry’s main job is to curb the
deficit while staying in the framework of the budget, with minimum harm to those
who are helpless,” he explained on Sunday.
Rivlin called for the Knesset
“to stand as one and back the government” in order to allow the budget to pass,
saying that the lack of a budget for 2013 at such a late stage in the year,
requires lawmakers to behave responsibly.
The Likud MK’s comments came
following reports that Netanyahu does not want him to be appointed to the
Knesset Finance Committee, for fear that Rivlin would vote with the opposition
in response to not being reelected Knesset Speaker.
On Saturday night,
Lapid wrote: “The picture slowly unfolding before me is worse than I
In an effort to explain the situation in “simpler terms,” than
“deficit” and “financial crisis,” Lapid compared the process to discovering a
“monstrous, ominous and growing” bank account overdraft while trying to renovate
“The problem came about because instead of managing the
economy responsibly, they took out a huge loan and threw a party,” Lapid
“It’s time to deal with the overdraft,” he continued, adding that
he would devote his first year on the job to narrowing it. Dealing with it
sooner rather than later would ensure that the painful cuts would not last as
long, he said.
“Whoever feels in the next year that their situation is
worsening must know that it will be temporary.”
In his lengthy post,
Lapid also discussed the experiences of the whirlwind week, from being sworn in
as finance minister to meeting US President Barack Obama.
Moving on to
“bigger” issues, he joked that after being photographed next to 1.9-meter tall
Obama, the 2- meter tall Secretary of State John Kerry, he and the similarly
petite Naftali Bennett should under no circumstances agree to having their
picture taken with Israel’s newly crowned beauty queen Yityish Aynaw. A photo
was snapped anyway, showing the 1.82-meter Ethiopian-born beauty queen towering
over the ministers.