Netanyahu, the man we can't forgive [pg. 17]

From being remembered as the man who succeeded in moving Israel's economy out of a deep economic crisis, Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu instead seems to have emerged as the figure blamed for the economic hardships people are unable to forgive. "The free market will continue to praise Netanyahu for his economic and financial reforms, which involved deep cuts in social benefits, which he should have restored once the economy started to grow," said Ben-Zion Zilberfarb, Professor of Economics at Bar-Ilan University. Many blamed Netanyahu for the economic hardships his policies caused when he was the finance minister. "He became one of the symbols that brought misery to many people," said Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin of Likud. Vered Dar, chief economist at Psagot Ofek noted that when Bibi was still finance minister he admitted going too far in some decisions, such as deep cuts in old-age benefits. "People told us that because their pensions decreased, they wouldn't vote for us," said MK Uzi Landau. Jonathan Katz, economist at Leader & Co added that the first-time success of the Pensioner's Party was like a spin-off of the implications of Netanyahu's austerity measures.