MK calls for probe on finance dir.-gen. candidate

Gilon: Uri Yogev suspected of conflict of interest; Knesset to meet on budget cuts.

Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein 370 (R) (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein 370 (R)
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
The Knesset will hold a special meeting on Tuesday morning, during its month-long Passover recess, to discuss expected cuts to the as yet unpassed 2013 state budget.
Meanwhile, opposition MKs continued to rail against Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s decisions in his first weeks in office – even those he hasn’t made yet.
MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) wrote a letter to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein requesting that he look into Uri Yogev’s candidacy for Finance Ministry director-general.
Gilon mentioned the possibility that Yogev may have had a conflict of interest and diverged from the Israel Corporations Authority’s proper management guidelines as chairman of Israel Railways.
“This is a senior position with crucial ramifications on all citizens and residents of Israel, which means the proper management guidelines must be followed meticulously from start to finish. Therefore, I ask for your public comment on the validity of the appointment, immediately,” Gilon wrote.
Earlier this week, Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said Lapid was surrounding himself with right-wing advisers, such as Yogev, who want to destroy the welfare state and benefit the rich.
“Lapid knows how to use new media and talks about new politics, but names like Uri Yogev, whom he is considering appointing as Finance Ministry director-general, are the oldest politics possible,” Gal-On wrote on Facebook. “Yogev and the other economists surrounding Lapid are directly responsible for the dramatic rise in inequality in the past 10 years and the continued wear on the middle class.”
The Meretz chairwoman wrote that Yogev was close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and lowered taxes for the wealthy while decreasing welfare services.
Next Tuesday’s meeting was called by Labor MK Isaac Herzog, to discuss expected cuts in the upcoming budget.
“I suggest that the finance minister not only speak to Mrs.
Cohen from Hadera, but also to Mr. [Meir] Cohen, the welfare minister, and get from him data about the distribution of income in this country and the serious social gaps,” Herzog said.
On Monday, Lapid described on his Facebook page a theoretical 37-year-old woman from Hadera named Ricki Cohen, and her husband, who together earn NIS 20,000 a month and support their three children.
Lapid called Mrs. Cohen “middle class,” and said the government must improve the quality of state services, including education, police and health, increase Mrs. Cohen’s quality of life and reduce her cost of living.
Herzog criticized Lapid earlier on this week, saying that “there are many Mrs. Cohens who barely make NIS 5,000 and cannot finish the month.
That is the real middle class.”
Also on Tuesday, the temporary Knesset House Committee will authorize the membership and chairmanship of the legislature’s permanent committees.