Leading by example: Lieberman calls for MK pay cut
Prior to special plenum session dedicated to upcoming budget cuts, Yachimovich slams decision to slash higher education funding: 'Have you no shame?;' Lieberman expressed support of Lapid; calls on MKs to shoulder burden, cut 10% of salary; Lapid: I'd protest myself before harming students
On the other hand, Labor Party Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich , who was elected Opposition Head, opened the plenum discussion with an onslaught of criticism on Lapid and his plans to slash higher education funding and raise tuition fees, asking Lapid: "Have you no shame?". In response to the criticism, Lapid said: "If I though the student were going to be harmed… I'd protest against myself."
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In a Facebook status, Leiberman expressed support of the Finance Minister Yair Lapid, and clarified that all of the Yisrael Beiteinu faction members would support "any budgetary proposal which he (Lapid) will bring before the government."
Opposition Head Shelly Yachimovich was not as supportive.
Lapid, Yachimovich (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
"Two minutes you've been sitting (in government) and who do you hit first, the very same people you premised to represent?" Yachimovich asked from the Knesset podium, quoting from the Yesh Atid platform: "'Imagine that the Education and Finance Minster where from Shas ' and they decided target students, imagine what an uproar we would have heard here."
"Look what you are doing, increasing inequality, hurting research, science, medicine, the army, technology, culture and anything else that that isn't directly connected to survival, and turns Israel into a morally, culturally and intellectually vibrant society; in other words: Have you no shame?"
Some time before the special plenum discussion regarding the expected budgetary slashes, Lieberman added: "We believe that Lapid deserves the chance to implement the decisions which he believes are best for the Israeli economy and the citizens of Israel.
"There is no do doubt it is easier to be the one who gives advice than the one who must make the decision, and it is even easier to criticize. We do not act in such a way, hence we decided we are granting the Finance Minster our full support. "
Yisrael Beiteinu's chairman added that "all ministers and parties must hold the discussion regarding the budget in a serious and responsible manner, taking into account that not every demanded can be answered.
"In this regard I call on MKs to waive 10% of their salaries from now until the end of 2014."
In response to claims that funding for higher education will be slashed and that the state subsidized tuition would be raised, Lapid wrote on his Facebook page: "Dear students, you're being taken for a ride. Why? Because I woke up this morning to learn that a war was declared against non-existent budget cuts."
"When I came to the Finance Ministry, I was told there would be no small amount of spins, but this is ridiculous. No one has decided to raise tuition, there are no ultimatums in the air, and if I though the students would be harmed I would drive home, and protest against myself."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Lapid are expected to announce their decision to cancel the amendment to the Budget Law, proposed by Lapid's predecessor- Yuval Steinitz, thus returning the state budget to an annual – as opposed to bi-annual – format.
Nonetheless, the current budget will remain in its current format and cover both 2013 and 2014, because the election postponed its ratification by more than half a year.
Hence, only in 2015 will Israel return to an annual budget format.
Despite former Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz's claims that the biannual budget was what shielded Israel from the shockwaves of the international economic crisis, Lapid claims, like others, that it was also the source of the NIS 38 million deficit in Israel's 2012 budget. The deficit is twice what was expected by Bank of Israel forecasts and is a whooping 4.2% of Israel's gross domestic product.
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