Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson's 2007 budget proposal would not help "realize the potential for growth in industry and the economy and would not encourage investments" if passed in its current form, the Manufacturers Association of Israel said Monday, ahead of today's government session on the budget. "It could have been done differently," said association president Shraga Brosh. Specifically, Brosh called on the government to modify the budget to include a NIS 1.15 billion addition to items that would encourage growth and reduce unemployment, including research and development, encouraging capital investments and exports. Brosh also argued that the government should have raised the VAT level back up 1 percentage point to 16.5%, instead of harming Israel's social condition through cuts to welfare and other allowances. "The government must do everything in order to get people out of the poverty cycle, and this must receive expression in the budget. Only investment in items encouraging growth will create ... those tens of thousands of jobs which Israeli society needs as much as air to breath," he said.