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.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Eight years ago, an Israeli rancher from Moshav Zippori in the Lower Galilee region reached a breaking point. Thieves and marauders had been targeting Chaim Zilberman’s sprawling ranch; his land was burnt black and cattle fences cut down. On the verge of bankruptcy, the rancher told his family during a Friday Shabbat dinner one night […]
Scotland Yard said it cannot prevent the upcoming neo-Nazi march that is planned for July 4th.
A store in Rafah, Gaza displays women’s Islamic head coverings for sale.
The highway at the property is a favorite spot for PA Arabs to try to throw
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu annual medical report as written by his personal physician, Dr. Tzvi Berkovitz, states, “Blood tests were completely normal including those for sugar, cholesterol and fats. The Prime Minister’s blood pressure was normal (120/80), aided by light medication.” The reports notes that “Prime Minister Netanyahu trains several times a week at a […]
The President will speak Friday night at Washington’s largest Conservative synagogue, whose rabbi is a homosexual.
This week ISIS captured two major cities, one in Iraq, one in Syria. Assad’s escape plan revealed.
Israeli Pres. Rivlin expresses deep concern after vandals torch a Bnei Akiva building and synagogue in northern Israel.
More than 70 percent of Muslims in Netherlands reportedly view their brethren fighting the “jihad” in Syria as “heroes.”
Israel rejects a Swiss court decision granting $1.1 billion to Iran after an oil deal went sour after the Islamic Revolution.
Liberman apologizes for describing Netanyahu’s decision to meet with head of Arab Joint Party List as “autistic.”
Former FM Avigdor Liberman slams PM Netanyahu for scheduling talks with the head of the united Arab parties.
Israel’s farmers brought the first fruits of the field to Pres. Reuven Rivlin and his wife Nechama on this eve of Shavuoth.
Members of the Knesset Honor Guard, Home Front Command, Firefighters, IDF, and Israel Police, participated in an emergency drill today, May 21, 2015, simulating a drone falling inside the Knesset complex.
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.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/israel-celebrates-yom-haatzmaut-as-challenges-mount/2013/04/17/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: