Bibi: Peretz is world strike champion

Netanyahu holds rival responsible for loss of 15 million workdays.

netanyahu arms spread (photo credit: AP)
netanyahu arms spread
(photo credit: AP)
Contender for Likud chairmanship MK Binyamin Netanyahu introduced his political rival Labor Chairman Amir Peretz on a Sunday meeting of the Israel Business Conference by saying "the next speaker, who arouses compassion, is Amir Peretz - the world champion of strikes." Netanyahu continued by noting the 606 strikes carried out during the last ten years, saying that came out to roughly a strike per week. The former finance minister figured that meant 15 million workdays were lost, and over NIS 16.5 billion. He continued to attack Peretz, claiming that Israel led the world in strikes, "thanks to the world champion of strikes [Peretz], who is to speak here after me." Netanyahu noted that Israel's top position in the amount of strikes beat Italy, the second-place holder, by seven times. Netanyahu also protested the way that every candidate competes with his deputy to see who can be more social. He bemoaned how competitors discuss how they will divide funds, while simultaneously attacking the policies that brought about the filling of the treasury. Speaking to Army Radio on Sunday evening, Netanyahu added that he was "fed up with the flood of cheap populism sweeping over the country." He criticized Peretz for "seeming to worry about the lower economic levels, but he is really the one who will represent the big committees that prevented reforms meant to lower prices for the average man." Netanyahu condemned Peretz for "strangling" the Israeli economy with all of the strikes. He cited a Knesset study showing that thousands of people had lost their jobs, and that factories had relocated outside of the country. "Because who would want to stay in this country? Peretz worried about the big companies at the expense of the rest of the Israeli citizens," Netanyahu continued. He applauded his own success in reviving the market, noting how he had taken a crumbling economy in which hundreds of thousands stood to lose their pensions after working their whole lives and he turned it around. Netanyahu added that due to his efforts, 200,000 people found jobs, saying that while Peretz fired a quarter of the Histadrut's workers, he employed 200,000 Israelis. "I created a free, dynamic, and creative economy," he boasted. Peretz ascended the podium after Netanyahu, but he refused to relate to Netanyahu's criticisms in his address. He later told Army Radio that he felt "Netanyahu was going through rough times." He said the former finance minister needed time to recuperate. The Israel Business Conference, now in its 11th year, opened Saturday night at the David Intercontinental hotel in Tel Aviv.