Netanyahu stressed that "tax in Israel is lower than most European countries." He added that anyone who says that taxes can but reduced and expenses increased at the deficit's expense "lacks responsibility and financial knowledge."
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Netanyahu mentioned the fence project along the Egyptian border and the plan for free education from the age of three as examples of necessary use of tax payer's money. "The Israeli economy is safer and more stable than practically all developed countries."
The prime minister was responding to criticism directed against him by Kadima. Members of the party's faction participated in a Saturday protest in Tel Aviv. Newly elected chairman Shaul Mofaz slammed Netanyahu for allowing the price hike.
Netanyahu, on his part, congratulated the Finance Ministry and Yuval Steinitz for "the responsible manner in which it has solved the crisis." Steinitz said: "The Netanyahu administration is struggling to protect the Israeli economy and has made a greater effort than any other government to battle poverty."
Shas Chairman Eli Yishai urged the government to take "drastic measures" to lower the cost of living.
He said that priorities must be changed so the public pays less.
Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report
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