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JERUSALEM – Even as millions of Israelis celebrated the country’s 65th birthday with prayers, lavish barbecues and star-studded entertainment in city squares, many citizens expressed worry about troubling domestic and foreign developments.
Within the next week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government and the Knesset, which have been on spring vacation for nearly a month, will return to work and likely deal with a variety of pressing internal and external issues. How those issues are dealt with could determine Israel’s fiscal, diplomatic and military fates in the months ahead.
Finance Minister and Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid has recommended a series of tough austerity measures as part of closing the government’s $10 billion deficit. His plan calls for slashing the defense budget, trimming the salaries of public sector employees, and decreasing monthly child stipends. He would increase the VAT (value added tax), the state income tax and municipal tax rates.
Lapid has also recommended a nearly 10 percent salary cut for MKs and government ministers. His severe proposals are meeting stiff resistance from Netanyahu’s Likud colleagues and leaders of the opposition Labor Party and the Shas Party. Many have vowed to fight Lapid’s plan in both the Knesset and the local media.
Likud Mks have told Netanyahu that Lapid’s budget cuts and tax hikes would harm the already overtaxed middle class and put the nation’s defense at risk. Opposition Leader Shelly Yachimovich said that the proposed austerity measures and child tax cuts would decimate lower-income-earning families and dramatically increase Israel’s poverty level. According to government statistics, nearly a quarter of the nation’s eight million people already live below the poverty level.
Israel’s new budget must be ratified by July 31. Without a formal budget, the government would fall and new elections held. Sources report that Netanyahu will attempt to pass the budget by mid-June, allowing himself some time if the first attempt to pass it is rejected in the Knesset.
On the diplomatic front, the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process was dealt a blow earlier this week when Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The former premier, with extensive experience in global finance, was able to curb incessant corruption within the Fatah-controlled PA, earning him praise from President Obama for his prudent fiscal policies.
Fayyad, a political independent, is known to staunchly support the restarting of peace negotiations with Israel. Arab newspapers have reported that Abbas considered Fayyad a political rival, while Hamas publicly lambasted him for his “Mr. Clean” image and his pro-American political stance. Haaretz said that if Abbas continues to allow Fayyad to leave government service, it “could spell the beginning of the end of the Palestinian Authority.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon criticized any attempt to slash hundreds of millions of dollars from the nation’s defense budget at a time when Syria and Lebanon are on the verge of imploding, and while Iran continues its uranium enrichment and its building of intercontinental missiles (with North Korea’s help). Additionally, Israel’s security services are reportedly waging a clandestine global battle against Hizbullah, Hamas and Iranian Revolutionary Guard terrorists who are deliberately targeting Israeli citizens and Jewish sites across the world.
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Hamas murdered a 4 yr old Israeli boy with a rocket launched next to an UNRWA school/shelter for Gazan refugees.
5:33pm Shabbat Shalom from Israel. It should be a peaceful Shabbat. 5:28pm Kerem Shalom 5:26 pm Kerem Shalom 5:22pm Nachal Oz 5:13pm Erez, Miflasim 5:13pm Gaza perimeter/Sderot, Erez, Miflasim 5:13pm Gaza perimeter/Sderot 5:02pm Erez, Miflasim 5:02pm Gaza perimeter/Sderot, Erez, Miflasim 5:02pm Gaza perimeter/Sderot 4:04 pm Sdot Negev, Shaar Negev 4:00 pm Sdot Negev, Shaar Negev […]
If you are worried about your child marrying a non-Jew, and you should be, then move to Israel.
One woman fighter is enough to scare away 72 virgins.
Israel remains a lone outpost for those who know that talking to liars is not a diplomatic solution.
Obama, who is sure the “peace process” will make Hamas safe for democracy, now has crowned himself an expert on radical Islam.
There were soldiers inside the attacked Hebron building, but they managed to get out in time.
On Thursday, the Israel Air Force hit a motorcycle transporting 2 terrorists in Rafah.
Temple University’s SJP claims the pro-Israel Jewish student harassed and provoked them into assaulting him.
The White House has unblocked the weapons shipment to Israel that they had recently blocked.
10:58pm Negev 10:32 pm Eshkol 9:38 pm Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ashkelon Coast 8:47 pm Modiin-Maccabim-Reut, and area. Iron Dome Interception. 8:46 pm Beit El 20:00 pm Iron Dome downs two rockets over Be’er Sheva; three others explode in open areas. 19:42 pm Two warnings of rockets in Be’er Sheva, warnings of rockets Hatzerim , site […]
The IDF readies what it does not want unless there is no alternative – a deep ground invasion of Gaza. Hamas also is ready.
If “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” Diaspora Jews are in big trouble.
The security cabinet authorised Thursday the emergency call-up of 10,000 IDF reservists. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Israel would continue to pursue Hamas leaders anywhere and at any time, and added that the current campaign would “take time.” Ya’alon called on the Israeli public to display patience and strength while the army deals with the […]
As of Tuesday, all IDF forces operating in Gaza withdrew and redeployed to holding positions around Gaza.
The sophisticated cement tunnels, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars, were reportedly built with Qatari government funds.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the nation on Tuesday afternoon that if the rocket fire did not stop by Tuesday evening, he would order “an even harsher” military response.
“They were abducted and murdered in cold blood by human animals,” Netanyahu said shortly after the bodies were found.
Awad had been released as part of the Gilad Shalit kidnapping deal. Mizrachi’s widow, Hadas, told Israeli reporters that she had opposed the release of murderers as part of any kidnapping deal, and that Awad “deserved the death penalty so he wouldn’t kill again.”
If the abductors’ goal was to force Israeli authorities to release long-serving Palestinian prisoners, the effort backfired as Israeli forces are quickly rolling up what was left of Hamas in the West Bank and are reportedly contemplating the overthrow of the Hamas leadership in Gaza should harm come to the three teenagers.
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