'Gov’t has no budget plan, must call elections now'

Yacimovich accuses Netanyahu of being trapped in an old way of thinking; Minister Attias: Haredim want to be part of workforce.

Labor party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Labor party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich accused the government Tuesday of abandoning plans for the 2013 state budget, telling the annual Calcalist conference in Tel Aviv that it has no choice but to call elections.
“Instead of taking responsibility, the state – with [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu at its head – is quiet. It is quiet in the face of the great wave of layoffs, it is silent in the face of the wildness of the capital markets, it is silent in the face of the distorted distribution of bank credit, and it is silent – frighteningly – in that it is not preparing a budget.”
Netanyahu is trapped in an old way of thinking, Yacimovich argued, in which he sees the state as the problem rather than the solution. She added that the “breakdown” of companies controlled by tycoons such as Yitzhak Tshuva, Kobi Maimon, Lev Leviev, Ilan Ben-Dov and Nochi Dankner requires the government to act with courage and think unconventionally.
Communications, Welfare and Social Services Minister Moshe Kahlon (Likud) addressed the budget debate in his speech to the conference, saying that there is no need to raise taxes or cut expenditure.
Providing the example of the Communications Ministry’s cellular and television reforms, he argued that it is possible to create revenues through reforms, streamlining, and cracking down on cartels and monopolies.
Kahlon also addressed the issue of regulation, saying: “I oppose this saying that there is too much regulation. Regulation is good and important, but not at the level that the supervisor supervises the supervisor and so on. At the moment there are too many regulators but not enough regulation.”
Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias (Shas) devoted part of his speech to the budget too, arguing that the biennial budgets employed by the government in 2009-10 and 2011-12 damaged – rather than enhanced – stability.
“The people who are most hurt by this are the weakest citizens,” Attias said. He added that it was unimportant “what the populists say about the welfare budget being allocated to specific populations,” arguing that one million poor come from across the spectrum of Israeli society, and not just from his own haredi community.
In regard to the ultra-Orthodox, Attias said the public must understand that haredim want to be part of the labor force, but that work places would also have to adapt to their own special requirements.
Wishing everybody a Happy Jewish New Year, he said: “We are all brothers... We in haredi society want to live in peace with everyone.”