Labor slams proposed budget cuts

Labor threaten to leave coalition; Students: theaten strikes.

Labor Party Ministers and MKs slammed that budget cuts proposed by Finance Minister Avraham Hirschson Monday ,with several of them threatening to dismantle the coalition government. Defense Minister and Labor Chairman Amir Peretz has called on party members to vote against the proposed budget, according to party officials. Labor plans to meet on Friday to discuss the budget. Agriculture Minster Shalom Simhon said there was "no chance" Labor would remain in the government if the proposed cuts were carried out. MK Shelly Yachimvich also strongly criticized the proposal. "Kadima want us out of the government, there can be no other reason for this plan, " she said. MK Efraim Sneh said that the proposed cuts harmed "those who bore the brunt of the war, students and recently released soldiers." Education Minister Yuli Tamir drafted a letter to the finance minister expressing her fury at the plan to increase the price of education by 50 percent in the next four years. Tamir said she was shocked by the plan, "which would harm students and seriously diminish the accessibility of higher education." Chairman of the Students Union Gal Dai slammed Hirschson's proposed budget cuts, saying that it was inconceivable for students to be exploited for a second time. "We have paid the price for the war in Lebanon with the blood of our colleagues and now the government is trying to fund its failure with our money, said Dai. The union threatened to organize a student strike if the budget cuts were carried out and to cause disturbances across the country.