Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday presented his economic reform plan as his launched his bid for re-election in the November ballot.
The former prime minister who served for 12 consecutive years, said in a press conference that he would lift regulations on imported goods and lower housing costs, which have sored by 16% in the past year.
"We all know there is a global financial crisis, it is caused by the COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine," Netanyahu said. No one is denying this, but a global financial crisis is not an excuse for inaction. We will continue to develop the regulation we put in place, we will continue to reduce tariffs and quotas, which we also began, and we will continue to increase imports," he said.
Netanyahu did not say he would lower housing prices but said he would issue government bonds, linked to the housing price index to prevent a rush to purchase housing at a high cost, and expedite building permits to increase new housing sales.
The former prime minister also promised free education for ages 0-3 to "lower family expenditures and allow young mothers to return to the workforce," and to lower taxes.
"We have huge tax surpluses, this year's forecast is for 60 billion NIS, and I intend to use some of that money to finance the economic plan. I will also reduce the state budget," he said.
Netanyahu was criticized by the Blue and White Party who had partnered with him in his last coalition which failed after the prime minister refused to pass a budget which would have seated Benny Gantz as prime minister under their coalition deal.
"After leaving the country without a budget for years, put his personal interests over the state, and severely harmed the Israeli economy, is not worthy and not capable of advancing any solution in economic matters," the party said in a statement.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid Party also criticized the Likud leader's promises: "The head of opposition is continuing with his disconnected fake news endeavor in order to hide the fact that for 15 years he carelessly neglected the Israeli economy."