Outgoing Likud MK Yuval Steinitz reflects on his time as finance minister

"It wasn't too bad to reduce the excise tax, and what [Financie Minister Avigdor] Liberman did so far is reasonable,” said Steinitz.

 Outgoing Likud MK Yuval Steinitz. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Outgoing Likud MK Yuval Steinitz.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Outgoing Likud MK Yuval Steinmetz said he believes he rescued Israel from a financial crisis, dismantling what he called the tycoons' pyramids and making other moves to shore up the economy.  

Steinitz also said he was wrong when he opposed the 2012 reduction of the excise tax on gasoline. "In retrospect, it wasn't too bad to reduce the excise tax, and what [Financie Minister Avigdor] Liberman did so far is reasonable,” he said. 

He applauded Liberman for announcing that both budgets will be biennial yet treats the Likud's new economic plan with caution: Steinmetz believes that the Likud's plan is sensible, provided that it’s implemented in a limited way for a limited time to avoid the danger of inflation.

The former energy minister has justified the 8.6% increase in electricity rates: "In 2012, as finance minister, the price of electricity was increased by 60-70% because Tamar drilling was shut down for a year and a half. I gave up taxes to the electric company and I spread the hike over 3 years.” Steinmetz said this electric rate hike will also be spread over three years. 

What about the gas outline? 

PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz visit at the Leviathan gas field gas processing rig near Caesarea in 2019. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz visit at the Leviathan gas field gas processing rig near Caesarea in 2019. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Regarding the gas outline, he said: "They tried to threaten me, but it wasn't in the gas outline, but when I established the Sheshinski committee for tax collection a campaign was conducted against me by the gas tycoons, who tried to employ private investigators because I raised the tax rate threefold."

Steinitz added that he wants to retire, rest and return to academia. He needed a break and isn’t sure if he’ll reenter politics. Steinmetz stated that the media doesn't reward politicians for achievements as a minister, and barely mentions any successes. 

he ascertained that serious work and significant international achievements aren’t rewarded, and unfortunately the media influences politics in a big way.

He also said: "When I began my political career, I asked why I wasn't invited to interviews. They responded that I was a boring doctor of philosophy. They explained that I hadn’t been kicked out of the Knesset plenary with three readings so I was a bore.”