Opposition leader MK Yair Lapid's warnings against the government's judicial reforms are actually a "political campaign" intended on damaging Israel's economy, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich charged at a press conference ahead of his weekly Religious Zionist Party faction meeting on Monday.
Smotrich noted a video that Lapid posted on Sunday in which the opposition leader allegedly concluded that investments should be moved from Israel to Singapore.
"I want to turn to you Yair, as a former prime minister and finance minister, What happened to you? Do you even have a drop of responsibility? Have you become a supporter of BDS [Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement against Israel]?
"These moves by the opposition may god forbid bring about some damage in the short term, but I am convinced that Israel's economy is larger and stronger than theirs, and will continue growing for many years along with the reforms we are bringing with the responsible and balanced budget next month," the finance minister added.
Lapid retorted moments later in a press conference of his own ahead of his Yesh Atid party's faction meeting, "I fought BDS when Smotrich was still a hilltop youth. I suggest he uses terms whose meanings he understands."
Lapid stressed the government is damaging the economy
Lapid in his speech stressed that it was not him who was damaging the economy but the government and that this was a consensus amongst over 300 of Israel's top economists including Nobel Prize winners, Israel Bank governors and others, some 50 former directors-general of economy-related ministries, and a range of senior hi-tech executives.
"Versus all of these professional voices stand only two people who are saying the opposite – one in the midst of a criminal trial, the other a convicted criminal. Prime Minister Netanyahu and the fired minister, [Aryeh] Deri. They are the only people that are saying that the legislation will not damage the economy, and, voila, they are also the people who will personally benefit the most from it," Lapid said.
"That is exactly the reason we said from day one: They cannot lead a reform against democracy because they are not coming from a clean place, their considerations are foreign and from their perspective, their interests come before the good of the country," he added.
"Those who support this legislation should also know – it has a price. It will harm all of our livelihoods, raise the cost of living, and make Israel less competitive and less efficient. That is the price, and whoever says otherwise is simply lying," Lapid said.
National Security Minister MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is facing pressure after a slew of bloody terror attacks over the weekend, said to the press ahead of his party's weekly meeting that the Neveh Ya'acov attack on Friday night came on his watch, and he intended to "act and fight" in order to defeat terror.
Ben-Gvir said that "the fight against terror starts from the small things," and that he, therefore, had ordered to implementation of destruction decrees against illegal buildings in east Jerusalem.
Other steps included rounding up illegal weapons on one hand, and making it easier to obtain weapons on the other in order so that more law-abiding citizens could bear weapons for self-defense. Ben-Gvir said he also had demanded a curfew on the neighborhood of A-Tur where the terrorist came from, and go "house by house" to collect illegal weapons, but that due to "differences of opinion with the professional bodies" he did not do so.
The national security minister also said he had ordered law enforcement to scour social media in order to find anyone who holds an illegal weapon. Another response would be to legislate a death penalty for terrorists, he added.
National Unity chairman and former defense minister MK Benny Gantz criticized what he claimed was the government's impulsive response to the security situation.
"The government will receive my support for every responsible step that will strengthen security, on all fronts," Gantz said.
"However, I am very concerned about what I saw in recent days: 'Instant' proposals that do not rely on intelligence or proposals of the defense bodies are infiltrating the cabinet meetings, which are being held like a neighborhood assembly," Gantz said.
"After the Sabbath, when millions were learning about the difficult slaughter – the first thing that instigators of chaos Ben-Gvir and his extreme cronies did was to complain about how much time it takes to seal off a house, and to search for those to blame.
"Now it is the legal advisors, then it will be the media and the Left.
"With spin, you do not defeat terror – but inflame hate and evade responsibility," Gantz said.
He accused Netanyahu of carrying the ultimate responsibility. The prime minister was "conducting these shows of hatred. Words turn to violence in the streets – and the prime minister is silent," Gantz accused.
He concluded by warning that Israel's security will be damaged by judicial reform since security was "first and foremost the strength of society."