"We need public transportation on Shabbat in secular neighborhoods and in secular cities," Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Thursday evening during a live chat on Facebook. However, he said, more time was needed to sense the changes regarding this issue and economic issues.
"I think there should be public transportation on Shabbat. I said this during my (election) campaign and I'm saying it again – not in religious areas, but in secular neighborhoods and secular cities – because this issue is not related to religion and state; it is a simple social matter," the Yesh Atid chairman wrote on Facebook.
"There is no reason that a grandfather who has money is able to take a taxi to visit his grandchildren while a grandfather who does not have money cannot because there is no bus to take him to his grandchildren," Lapid said. "Everything cannot happen in three months. We will fight for this cause; there will be wars we will win and wars that we won't (win), but we'll have to wait until we win."
According to Lapid, the Israeli economy is transitioning from a culture of stipends to a culture of work. "If you work and do not earn (money) then you should be offered help; if you do not work because you don't feel like it, we should make certain that Israeli society tells you: Not in our house. It is not decent and it is not fair. The working man is at the center of the financial plan," he said.
Lapid during Facebook chat
Addressing the stalled peace negotiations, the minister said "If peace will exist here, that more than anything else will change the economic situation of the State of Israel. In 1992, with the signing of the Oslo Accords, there was a huge economic wave, including foreign investments."
Lapid also spoke about the plan for the equal share of the burden within Israeli society and referred to the Peri Committee's recommendations as "nothing short of a social revolution," adding that the "terrible harassment of haredi soldiers is occurring because the ultra-Orthodox also realized this is a social revolution. I am interested in creating a social revolution that results in actual equal distribution of the burden. It's happening, and it's significant and important. In 10 years (people) will look back in disbelief."
Asked by Facebook users about the tax increases and why he was not taking more from the rich, the minister explained that he is not a socialist. "I think people are allowed to make a lot of money and we should not be angry with them. We should not live in a country where people are under the impression there is no point in succeeding because people will hate them. Society should not punish those who succeed. It sends a bad message to society and it is not social justice; it is anti-social justice and anti-economic," he said.
Lapid said it will take some time to fix the problems of the Israeli economy. "In a year and a half we will feel (the change) in out pockets and in the atmosphere that surrounds us," he vowed.
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