Steinitz praises Lapid, Bennett amid gov't rumors

Israel Bonds breaks record with $230m. fund-raising night; Steinitz hits Yacimovich: She's engaging in economic populism.

Netanyahu Steinitz 390 (photo credit: Reuters)
Netanyahu Steinitz 390
(photo credit: Reuters)
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) on Sunday night praised the leaders of two rival political parties – Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid and Bayit Yehudi’s Naftali Bennett – for their economic credentials, as speculation swirled regarding who Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would ally with in the next government.
“The results of the elections in Israel are reasonable from an economic perspective,” Steinitz said at an Israel Bonds fundraising meeting in Florida. “It seems that Lapid and Bennett support rational economic policy, setting economic growth atop their priorities and not calling for imposing excessive taxes.”
While Lapid’s party is widely expected to be part of the next coalition, Netanyahu has worked to dispel rumors that he would refuse Bennett a spot.
In a jibe at Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich, whose economic policy he continuously derided throughout the campaign, Steinitz specifically praised Lapid and Bennett for “not engaging in economic populism.”
Yacimovich had her own harsh words for Steinitz, criticizing him and the prime minister for the country’s inflated deficit.
“In every civilized country, the finance minister would have long ago drawn conclusions and submitted his resignation over the resounding failure,” she said on Monday. “Only in the Netanyahu government would that same minister, who also sees himself as the natural candidate for the job, continue the destructive policy that he led in the past four years.”
Israel Bonds, the company which underwrites Israeli debt securities, broke records when it raised $230 million in one night, almost 30 percent of its total annual intake of $800m.
“The impressive amount raised again demonstrates the resilience of the Israeli economy and the strength of the North American Jewish community’s connection to the State of Israel,” said Steinitz, who delivered the keynote speech at the event.
On Monday, the Finance Ministry also announced that it would issue 10-year and 30- year dollar-denominated bonds. Israel issued $1.5 billion in 10-year bonds in both 2012 and 2010.