On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich unveiled their government plan for combating inflation, which hinges upon a year-long property tax freeze, stabilized gas prices and utility price cuts to the tune of 70%.
Within an hour of the presentation’s completion, leader of the Labor Party and former minister MK Merav Michaeli criticized the plan on Twitter, accusing Netanyahu of using the plan as “a smokescreen to hide the seizure of power and the destruction of the legal system he is planning to implement in the next few weeks.
ספוילר: מר יוקר המחיה לא יטפל ביוקר המחיה, כמו שהוא לא באמת מביא חינוך חינם. ההבטחות האלה שקריות בדיוק כמו ההבטחות שלו לשמור על הדמוקרטיה. נתניהו מנסה לייצר מסך עשן כדי להסתיר את ההפיכה המשטרית וריסוק מערכת המשפט שהוא מתכנן לבצע בשבועות הקרובים. נתראה בהפגנה במוצ"ש.— Merav Michaeli מרב מיכאלי (@MeravMichaeli) January 11, 2023
“Spoiler: Mr. ‘Cost of Living’ won’t deal with the cost of living, just like he won’t really deliver free education. These are false promises just like his pledge to protect democracy,” Michaeli wrote.
Other MKs respond to the plan
MK Naama Lazimi echoed Michaeli’s sentiment, calling the economic strategy “an empty economic plan that is intended to ring well in the ears, but in practice preserves the policy that led us to today’s situation and does not bring a new line.
“These are the same Band-Aid solutions that have not changed the reality here for two decades. The detachment of the prime minister and the finance minister from the situation and the reality on the ground is a disgrace,” Lazimi said. “The citizens of Israel do not need crumbs, but a fundamental change – a significant budgetary expansion of the health, welfare and education services, raising the minimum wage to NIS 40 per hour so that citizens do not earn starvation wages and dismantling monopolies and centralization that cost the public dearly with every visit to the supermarket. Instead of giving more of the same, it’s time to adopt a comprehensive social approach that will take care of the entire public.”
A relatively positive response to the plan was presented by the chairman of the Presidency of the Business Sector, Dobi Amitai, though he too noted more action will be necessary to achieve the goal of turning back Israel’s high cost of living.
“I congratulate the Israeli government on its announcement of initial moves designed to make doing business in Israel cheaper, but this is similar to placing a tourniquet on a wounded person in order to stop the initial bleeding,” he said. “Israel’s economy needs professional and high-quality care that should be reflected in the development of growth engines for the economy for the benefit of the business sector that carries the Israeli economy on its back.”