Shama-Hacohen calls Steinitz a 'retard' over price hikes

Likud MK says rising prices are "like a semi-trailer going down a hill;" Netanyahu reportedly dissatisfied with finance ministry's policies.

311_steinitz is feeling cross (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
311_steinitz is feeling cross
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Likud) on Tuesday called Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz "retarded," due to his financial policies.
In response to the rise in prices of gasoline, water and bread, Shamah said in an interview with Army Radio: "Retards, open your eyes and ears! We are complaining for the past month about the rising prices. It's like a semi-trailer going down a hill, while pressing on the gas."
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Army Radio reported on Tuesday that Likud officials say Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu regrets appointing Steinitz as Finance Minister, and that Netanyahu's wife, Sarah, said that Steinitz's behavior is "ruining" her husband.
The Prime Minister's Office denied the rumors, telling Army Radio that "the Prime Minister has complete faith in the Finance Minister, and they will continue to lead reforms together in a balanced an responsible manner."
At Monday's weekly Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu faced criticism of his economic policies from within the Likud.
“It’s happening because of the rise in demand, especially from recovering Asian economies,” Netanyahu, who is a former finance minister, said. “Prices have risen around the world on gas, bread, water and other items. I know this has hurt many families and we are working on solutions.”
Knesset Social Welfare Committee chairman Haim Katz warned: “You won’t be prime minister in the next term if you continue with such policies. We will go back to 12 mandates and lose the next election.”
MK Danny Danon told Steinitz: “You have got to climb down from Mount Olympus. The public is screaming and you’re still not hearing it.”
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom, like Netanyahu a former finance minister, boasted that when he faced similar challenges, he raised taxes on the stock market so everyone would share the burden. He bragged that in January 2003, following his term as finance minister, the Likud won 38 seats.
Gil Hoffman and Ruth Eglash contributed to this report.