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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Cost of Lapid’s Housing Plan Estimated to Be Bigger than His Ego

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Finance Minister Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid party, has come up with a fantastic plan to solve Israel’s apartment shortage but it has one large problem –  a cost of approximately $14 billion, according to an estimate by Globes business newspaper. That may be par for the course for the former journalist who didn’t even finish high school, let alone specialize in math.

Approval of the plan has not taken into consideration how the government will pay for it. A large cost will be compensating owners of farmland where some of this planned 150,000 apartments are to be built.

“Contractors regret that no one consulted with them in drawing up the plan, assessors call it ‘hallucinatory,’” Globes reported. The land will cost the government approximately $12 billion but will have to be sold for far less  in order to make it a feasible investment for contractors.

The plan also faces heavy opposition from environment groups and the environment ministry.

Even the estimate of $14 billion is low, according to Israel’s Real Estate Appraisers Association chairman Ehud Danus, who said the final cost could be double after taking into considering necessary schools and parks.

The Ministry of Finance responded to the report with a weird admission of that “we’re talking about the preliminary stage, and as we accumulate the land for projects, we’ll budget the activity later on.”

Lapid to Give Peres Extra 3.3 Mil. while Bibi Rebuked for Water Bill

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Once again, certain Israeli media outlets are attacking Prime Minister Netanyahu, this time for what they claim are exorbitant expenses for maintaining the Prime Minister’s homes where he entertains foreign officials.

According to Ha’aretz, the state spend NIS 2.97 million to maintain the official Jerusalem residence, NIS 312,000 for his Caesarea home, and NIS 4,561 for his Jerusalem home on Gaza street. Ha’aretz made a point to emphasize the Prime Minister’s water bill. Back in February they complained about how much ice cream his household ate.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the water bill was for 3 years, and besides family and official guests, Netanyahu has full time security details living at his residences.

On Monday, Yisrael Hayon published a tiny, easily overlooked article about another public figure who also seems to have an unusually large budget, President Shimon Peres.

The President currently has an astounding NIS 55.2 million shekel annual budget, according to Yisrael Hayom – and that doesn’t include his annual birthday party at Binyanei Hauma.

Some older reports state that Peres’s official budget in 2012 was NIS 62.7 million, up from NIS 42.5 million in 2011.

In that report, NIS 42 million went to maintaining the Presidential residence, including maintenance, security and staff, while another NIS 4.5 million were spent on flights abroad. You would think that Shimon Peres is a Foreign Minister with that amount of flying overseas.

Surprisingly, Finance Minister Lapid’s usually tight-fisted Ministry of Finance doesn’t think that this is enough money.

They’re recommending to the Knesset that an additional NIS 3.3 million be added onto the President’s annual budget to reach an astounding NIS 58.5 million for running President Peres’s household, and for what some have called his “shadow government”.

Over the weekend, a report in Makor Rishon said that Peres won’t be asking for an extension of his Presidential position which ends July 2014. Instead Peres believes he should be appointed as a “Super-Minister for Peace” in the current government.

20% of Hamas Budget for Terror Tunnels

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

An astounding 20% of Hamas’s annual budget goes into building terror tunnels, according to an IDF estimation, which is based on numbers published by Hamas in Gaza.

With an annual budget of $700 million, it’s estimated that $100 million goes directly towards building terror tunnels into Israel and the Sinai, said a report in Makor Rishon.

The IDF estimates there are many more terror tunnels leading into Israel, besides the four that were recently found.

It is unknown how much more of their budget then goes into acquiring and building missiles and explosives.

Hamas’s Finance Minister complained that Hamas has lost $460 million since June, as a result of Egypt blowing up 90% of Hamas’s tunnels in the Sinai.

Hamas says they need their terror tunnels to kidnap Israelis, to help free terrorists captured by Israel who were trying to kill Israelis.

Just imagine if they had instead put that money towards new schools, medical centers, or social programs to improve their country.

Overspending

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Often one spouse accuses the other of being an over-spender. But what exactly is “overspending”? This definition changes from family to family; for one, going out to eat on a weekly basis may be within their means, while even a periodic coffee may be stretching the resources of another couple. So how does a family determine whether they can afford to eat out?

One cannot “overspend” if there isn’t a budget that defines spending limits. A budget can help reduce friction between spouses who have different spending patterns. If both partners agree to create and abide by a budget, then the one spouse is no longer the “bad cop” that regulates his or her partner’s spending habits.

Spending as an emotional issue

People spend money for a variety of reasons. Some expenses, like groceries and utilities, are a necessity, while others are discretionary. However, even within fixed expenses there is usually room to cut back. Does Shabbat dinner need to be an expensive cut of meat accompanied by costly wine, or will chicken and grape juice suffice?

Examine your fiscal habits. Do you have an idea of how much your monthly expenses are? Where do you spend money? Do you charge or pay in cash? Do you have financial goals that are important to you, and if so, are you actively working to achieve them? How would you feel if your spending habits changed? How would that change affect your spouse/family?

Consider the doctor who tells an overweight patient that unless he lost a considerable amount of weight, he would face serious illness. Chances are, the patient would diet and exercise. So why is there a discrepancy when a financial adviser recommends a fiscal diet and an exercise program of spending within a budget?

Very often, financial issues mask other problems within a relationship. Therefore, creating a budget is not only a good tool to monitor spending, but it can also help improve family harmony.

UPDATED: Screams of Rabin Blood Libel after Fake Posting of Lapid as Hitler

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Update at the end of the article.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid woke up this morning to find that someone had posted a picture of him dressed as Hitler, one day after the Knesset passed on first reading his proposed budget that includes tax hikes and spending cuts.

Written on the fake picture of Lapid, complete with a Hitler-style moustache, were the words, “Israeli economy’s hateful enemy.”

It is not clear who was behind the prank, but he or she managed to arouse a storm of protest.

“This is shocking,” said public relation official Ran Rahav.

It is shocking indeed, but then he took it to the extreme and started digging up the blood libel against the national religious community following the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin in 1995.

“It is with great sorrow that the whole country has not internalized what happened before 18 years ago, when Yitzchak Rabin was murdered. In those black days before the murder, a picture of Rabin was posted showing him dressed as Hitler.

“I hope the police will immediately arrest whoever carried out this horrible posting against Finance Minister Yair Lapid.”

UPDATE: Numerous bloggers are now saying that they believe that PR official Ran Rahav or an associate of his was involved in creation of the photo, based on the suspicious manner in which Rahav tried to upload and publicize the image.

Years ago, it was exposed that the picture of Yitzchak Rabin in an SS uniform was created and distributed by a Shabak agent.

 

Haredi Tycoons Raising $100 Million to Replace Lapid’s Budget Cuts

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Haredi tycoons are organizing to fill a $100 million gap for yeshivas following Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s elimination of the same amount of money that yeshivas have been receiving from taxpayers.

The Mishpacha magazine called the tycoon’s fund-raising campaign “a Lapid bypass plan “to help the world of the Torah get through the years of distress with a minimum of harm.”

If it works, everyone wins: The budget will come closer to being in the black, pardon the expression; the vast majority of Israelis will be relieved of blatant government purchases of Haredi votes in return for funding for yeshivas; the Haredi community will be more self-dependent; Torah study can continue; and perhaps the Hardy tycoons that men registered at yeshiva actually learn and do not simply pocket money to sit at home.

Wealthy Haredi businessmen are setting up a special $100 million fund in the next several weeks, according to Mishpacha.

Many of the rich Haredim already have committed large sums of money to replenish the bank accounts of yeshivas and to guarantee income to Torah students.

Another objective is to help encourage employment that is consistent to the Haredi lifestyle, similar to the Agudah communities in the United States.

There is also an initiative to foster employment and training of Haredi women in jobs consistent with the Haredi way of life.

However, the Haredi community has not given up on hopes of going back to the days of government handouts.

It hopes that after the fund runs for approximately 18 months, “the government will be replaced by a government more congenial to the Haredi public,” according to the magazine.

Cabinet Passes ‘Austerity Budget’

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

The Cabinet Monday evening passed a two-year budget, nearly five months late, with tax hikes and across-the-board cuts in spending, Only one minister voted against the  budget, the second and last time it will cover two years instead of one.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who is chairman of the Yesh Atid party, said after the vote that the budget is “first stage in changing peoples’ lives in Israel.”

The Value Added Tax on most goods, except food, will rise from 17 percent to 18 percent. Income taxes will rise for upper income families, and ministries will have to get by with last outlays, meaning cuts in services.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer announced a surprise quarter-point cut in the interest ate Monday night, two weeks ahead of the end-of-the month decision n whether to change the rate for the following month. He also praised the new budget, which could lead the country out of a huge deficit that has mounted in the past three years following several years of a surplus.

Obama Golfs and Bibi Eats Ice Cream – How Much to Indulge Leaders?

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Personal expenses for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu soared 80 percent in the last year, according to figures that his office were forced to release after it ignored a formal request and acquiesced only after a petition for disclosure was filed in court.

The anti-Netanyahu Israeli press, which is just about all of the local media, jumped on the Prime Minister and his wife Sarah for freely spending the taxpayers’ money at a time when the government is carrying out austerity measures to reduce the budget deficit.

The attacks are somewhat populist, but that does not detract from the fact that some of the Netanyahus’ spending habits are from frugal.

However, compared with President Barack Obama, the Israeli expenditures are peanuts.

Of course, comparing the United States with Israel is like comparing Wyoming with New York, but there also is one other very basic difference: Israel loves to hang out its collective dirty laundry in full view of the public.

The Israeli society is nothing if not open. Thanks to the official list of expenditures, we now know that the Netanyahus spent approximately $40,000 for gardening last year at the family’s official home and two private residences.

Cosmetic and haircut and hairdo expense rose last year from $9,250 to nearly $18,000.

We don’t know how much the White House spent on keeping Obama and Michelle’s hair neat and prim, but you can bet your bottom shekel that $18,000 barely paid for a shave and after-shave.

In Israel, the principle often is more important than the principal, and the public indeed needs a leader who can be an example of a bit of modest spending at a time when the government wants to hike taxes and lower services to the public.

Netanyahu earlier this year was embarrassed by the disclosure that he asked for $2,700 to lap up ice cream, one of his weaknesses. He put a stop to his habit, at least not at the public’s expense.

Last week, he had to order a halt to the use of a special airplane bedroom that was installed for the price of $125,000 when he and his wife flew to Britain for the funeral of Margaret Thatcher. The special room will be removed, except for trans-Atlantic flights.

In the United States, President Obama has been has attacked for his costly habit of playing golf. His recent outing with Tiger Woods cost $78,000 just for security.

ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney how much is spent for President Obama’s golf tours?

“Well, the president is the President of the United States,” Carney replied. “And he is elected to represent all of the people. And he travels around the country, appropriately. I don’t have a figure on the cost of presidential travel. It is obviously something, as every President deals with because of security and staff, a significant undertaking. But the President has to travel around the country. He has to travel around the world. That is part of his job.”

“How much does it cost for him to go and play golf?” Karl insisted.

Carney never answered the question.

The large outlay for political leaders’ quirks raises the question of how much they need to be pampered to keep from collapsing under the strain of public office.

“Bibi is king, and in a monarchy, when the king and queen fly, price is no object,” political commentator Sima Kadmon wrote in Israel’s Yediot Acharonot.

The president’s total impersonal expenditures are estimated at $1.4 billion a year, and that more or less is the same level of spending in the Bush administration.

But there is a limit, morally. Can Prime Minister Netanyahu function without so much ice cream, even without taking into account that he can do without the calories?

And does the White House really have to spend more than $250,000 a year on flowers, the figure that is an official government statistic?

Battering Netanyahu is popular and often justified, and the results are positive. Bedroom flights to Europe have been scrapped, and the ice cream budget has melted.

Now let’s see if Obama starts playing less golf.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/obama-golfs-and-bibi-eats-ice-cream-how-much-to-indulge-leaders/2013/05/14/

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