Yair Lapid, Israel's 'Golden Boy,' Crashes to Earth in Austerity Push

Middle Class Backers Furious Over Harsh Budget Cuts


By Reuters

Published May 15, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

Many analysts thought it was a cunning move by Netanyahu, his political-rival-turned-coalition-partner, to push him into the financial hot seat, knowing full well that the economy was in a much worse shape than he had let on ahead of the election.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Netanyahu had set him up. It would be the correct move in politics,” said Reuven Hazan, head of political science at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

“If anyone thinks that in politics you put the right person in the right position, rather than put your biggest challenger in the worst possible position, then that person knows nothing.”

While Lapid faced a deluge of abuse last week after unveiling his first budget, a smiling Netanyahu was enjoying a succession of photo opportunities during a visit to China.

Ministers normally have six months to prepare an annual budget, but the January election meant Lapid had just six weeks to put together a package covering both 2013 and 2014.

Former Bank of Israel deputy governor, Avia Spivak, suggested it would have been wiser for Lapid to hold off on 2014 deliberations. “We needed more time to assess the situation,” said Spivak, who teaches at Ben Gurion University.

Lapid ploughed ahead regardless, and discovering a 35 billion shekel ($9.6 billion) hole in the accounts, he turned to his favourite means of communication, Facebook, to explain the predicament.

Warning of tough times ahead, he said that he had hoped to “renovate the house”, but had found instead that there was a “monstrous overdraft” to pay off because the previous owners had taken “out huge loans and had a party”.

Such folksy language had helped win him voters in January, and his supporters confidently expected that he would find the cash by taxing the super rich, scaling back benefits accrued by some of Israel’s biggest firms and pegging back union benefits.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.