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July 26, 1996 - Image 81

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-07-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

L

Economic Blues

RESIDFN TIAI -CONIMFRCIAL
DESicN INRECON MAID

1-800-421-4141

Israel's finances were
once in great shape.
Not anymore.

LARRY DERFNER

ISRAEL CORRESPONDENT

It's not all glory. Just before leav-
ing for the United States, Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
learned that lesson well. He
made his first economic move —
a long list of budget cuts that
went down terribly with the poor
and their defenders — both in the
coalition and the opposition.
"Only a vile government, a
government of the worst inten-
tions, could get elected with the
support of the poor, and then, in
its first step, clobber the poor
and increase their ranks," said
Knesset Member Ran Cohen of
Meretz.

A mounting budget
deficit is again a
major factor in
Israeli life.

Even some Likud politicians
slammed the government for
making the lives of the poor hard-
er. Shaul Amor, head of the Knes-
set's Social Caucus, demanded
that Mr. Netanyahu and Finance
Minister Dan Meridor rescind the
"dreadful budget cuts" to health,
education and welfare. Knesset
Member Maxim Levy of Gesher,
a Likud partner, said he would
"wage war from within" against
the cuts when they came up for
Knesset approval.
Mr. Netanyahu, for his part,
insisted his government had "tak-
en care not to hurt the poor. Any-
one who really wants to help the
poor should support this pro-
gram."
The program was an answer
to a problem both the govern-
ment and the opposition agreed
had to be solved: the budget
deficit. The deficit, caused by the
Labor government's excessive
spending and the high cost of
fighting terror in the West Bank,
Gaza and Lebanon early this
year, is helping to drive up infla-
tion and weaken the shekel.
Even the previous finance min-
ister, Avraham Shochat, said he
would have cut the budget if he
had been returned to office. But,
Mr. Shochat and other critics
said, too many of the proposed
cuts would make the basics of life
more expensive for people who
couldn't afford them in the first
place.
Under the plan, the high price
BLUES page 82

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