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May 4, 2016 / 26 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Finance Minister’

Kahlon: Half-Billion Shekels to Go to Holocaust Survivors and Elderly

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

By Joshua B. Dermer/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon announced plans on Monday to increase annual financial support for Holocaust survivors and elderly welfare recipients by a half-billion shekels (US$133 million) in advance of the country’s Holocaust Remembrance Day this week.

“Unfortunately, previous Israeli governments have not done enough on behalf of Holocaust survivors…the program is focused on pushing elderly Holocaust survivors over the poverty line,” Kahlon said during the annual Knesset event celebrating the defeat of Nazi Germany. “In addition, there has not been enough done for the economically-disadvantaged elderly population—increasing their benefits was one of our conditions for entering the government.”

The new plans will benefit 60,000 survivors living below the poverty line and will add 350 million shekels (nearly US$1 million) earmarked for elderly welfare recipients.

“Two days from now, on Wednesday, we will enter Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), as we do every year,” Kahlon said. “As the years pass, we see a decrease in the number of Holocaust survivors in Israel. However, what is not decreasing is our desire to listen to their stories, which are an inseparable part of the country’s founding, as well as our desire to enable them to grow old with dignity”

Government funds towards survivors have increased in recent years, according to Aviv for Holocaust Survivors, an NGO dedicated to informing the Israeli survivor population of updates regarding grant allocation and changes in government policy.

“We believe that in 2016 there are not supposed to be any poor survivors—this is the last opportunity to help Holocaust survivors and that’s why everyone is trying to help,” said Aviva Silverman, CEO and founder of the organization, in an interview with Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “It’s hard to say what impact and influence the project will have, but we truly embrace and treasure every and any kind of support and change. Any benefit given is a blessing.”

The median age of survivors in Israel is 82, Silverman said, and many survivors need assistance in understanding and applying for these benefits.

“The main problem is that because there are so many changes and announcements, the Holocaust survivors are not aware of many of the benefits they can enjoy,” Silverman told TPS. “Our job is to inform them and help them apply for these benefits.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Netanyahu, Kahlon Cut Taxes to Spur Sluggish Economy

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon announced Thursday they will cut the sales tax (VAT) by one percent and do the same with the corporate tax.

Beginning October 1, the VAT will drop from 18 percent to 17 percent.

The corporate tax will drop from 26.5 percent to 25 percent, starting in January 2016.

It is estimated that the two benefits to consumers will cost the state approximately NIS 6.5 billion ($1.6 billion).

Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug, who is not in favor of the plan, immediately announced her criticism of the move.

But in a joint news conference Thursday afternoon, Netanyahu and Kahlon told reporters the move was designed to act as a “growth engine” on an economy that is slowing down.

“We believe in you, we believe in the free market, we believe in freedom,” the prime minister said. “I think this will help growth. I think this will give the economy the boost it needs. At a time when we are hearing about global slowdown, and here too, we want a growth engine and lowering taxes is one of them.”

Hana Levi Julian

BFF

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon and Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug met today to discuss the problem of Israeli banking.

They talked about the 3 main banks who control 70% of the credit in the Israeli banking market.

They want to open more banks and create competition for the citizen and consumer.

Flug took a more cautionary tone, and added that the new banks will need to be monitored properly.

Kachlon’s next target are the insurance and pension fund companies.

Photo of the Day

Yisrael Katz May Replace Lapid as Finance Minister

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is likely to appoint Likud wheeler-dealer Yisrael Katz as Finance Minister this week, replacing Yair Lapid, whom the Prime Minister fired last week when he decided had enough of the current coalition.

Katz currently is Transportation Minister. He also is an old guard and powerful rough and tough Likud politician, who knows how to get things done but can’t do much of anything unless it is through a back-door deal.

Netanyahu did a masterful job as Finance Minister in the Sharon government a decade ago, and the economy probably would be better off if he were to continue to head the ministry until the elections in March.

However, it is the elections that are prompting him to have Katz take over the job, not for the sake of the economy but for the sake of his own position as Likud leader.

Giving Katz a more prominent position and power would keep at bay challengers to Netanyahu, such as Gideon Saar and Gilad Erdan.

Katz is excellent at pulling strings behind the curtain and keeping people in place, and managing the nation al treasury is nifty way to do so.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Report: Senior Israeli Ministers Suspected of Ties with Foreign BDS

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

The website KR8 reports that Israel’s foreign ministry has warned Prime Minister Netanyau regarding activity within his own government to encourage an international boycott against Israel. As a result, according to the report, Ministers Tzipi Livni, Yaakov Perry and Yair Lapid were not included in a recent special cabinet meeting with the Shabac, Israel’s internal security service.

KR8 points out that the three ministers belong to two parties that did not exist a year before the January 2013 national election, and that both have not disclosed the funding from foreign sources which allowed them to run effective campaigns to attract the “floating votes” between Likud and labor.

In Livni’s case, she had been voted out as chair of the Kadima party, disappeared from view for several months and reappeared with the financial muscle that enabled her to pick up 7 Knesset seats. Lapid’s rise to political success was even more resounding, going from no political experience whatsoever to 19 Knesset seats. The Israeli press has not questioned these two stunning feats of political prowess, even after both Livni’s and Lapid’s parties ended up as the only left-leaning coalition partners.

The angry report from the foreign ministry charged that Livni, Lapid and Perry have been so vociferous and adamant about the impending doom of European and American economic sanctions against Israel’s economy, should the Jewish State fail to sign a peace treaty with the Palestinians, that their message is now threatening to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Recognizing that some inside Israel’s leadership would actually welcome a boycott, European corporations are softening their resistance to BDS pressures.

When weighing capitulation to the BDS against potential Israeli retaliation, especially in the area of technology and hi tech, those European concerns would have likely chosen not to join the boycott. But when the media is flooded by Israeli voices that give legitimacy to the boycotts, it would make sense for the Europeans to associate themselves with the likes of the Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest, which has a long antisemitic record and strong ties with Iran.

Incidentally, speaking of Danske Bank, which has decided to boycott Israel’s Bank Hapoalim for “legal and ethical” reasons related to its operating in the settlements – is now facing allegations from state prosecutors of price manipulation “of a particularly serious nature” in connection with mortgage bond trading in 2009. Six employees have been suspended, and that only the start.

Instant Karma is such a pleasure to watch…

So far, there have been no confirmation to the KR8 story, which does not quote sources. The likelihood at this point that Netanyahu would fire the three erring ministers is low—while the right wing KR8 reporter’s view is that it is practically inevitable. But who know, Purim is just around the corner, and it’s a holiday renowned for a lot of Karma and of turning bad things around in the nick of time.

Yori Yanover

Lapid Freezes Funding for Draft-Delayed Haredim

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Finance Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday froze the money going to Haredi yeshivas, following a Tuesday Supreme Court ruling that ordered the state to halt all payments to yeshivas whose students’ draft has been postponed.

Lapid instructed the Finance Ministry’s comptroller to freeze the payments, but on Thursday he issued a statement saying that, after discovering that the funds had already been sent to the Education Ministry, he convened an emergency meeting with his comptroller following which he ordered her to block those funds as well.

Lapid’s statement said that this was done in an effort to obey the high court’s ruling.

Now the two offices will be cooperating to separate the 18- to 20-year-old yeshiva students with an August draft postponement, who will not be paid, from the rest of the yeshiva students.

“These will no longer receive state funds,” said the Lapid statement. “Only once the Education Ministry’s examination of their cases is concluded will the Finance Ministry release the funds to those yeshiva students not included in the court ruling.”

The Supreme Court ruled on several appeals from so called good government groups. The court ordered government to issue an updated announcement by March 31 regarding the pay, saying the justices might issue a new decision should the Knesset not come up with new legislation by then.

Meanwhile, the justices have prohibited government to transfer any funds “intended to support Torah institution students born in 1994, 95 and the first half of 96, who received their draft date starting in August, 2013, and who have not shown up to be drafted based on general decisions to postpone their draft made by the IDF Chief of Staff.”

So, everybody wins: Lapid gets to show his few remaining potential voters that he’s tough on parasitic Haredim; the Haredi yeshiva deans get to show the world that Israel hates Torah; and Yeshiva students and their families get a rare opportunity to drop their nasty habit of eating several times a day and living in homes.

Yori Yanover

The Next Round: Will Netanyahu Retain His Title?

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Netanyahu had no real opponent in the recent election for Israel’s 19th Knesset, making his re-election clear before elections were even announced. Thus, despite what many analysts graded as the worst campaign of the Knesset’s 12 parties, the alliance between the Prime Minister and former Foreign Minister Lieberman resulted in a clear win of 31 seats for Likud Beitenu. Second place Yair Lapid was the surprise of the elections, winning 19 seats, and he quickly announced he was looking to be a coalition member and not the Opposition Leader.

This Friday, Smith conducted a poll published by Globes, which put Prime Minister Netanyahu’s center-right Likud-Beitenu and Finance Minister Lapid’s center-left Yesh Atid at a 30-30 tie.  While polling is not an exact science, polls provide us with the latest voting trends and they are the best tool we have for predicting election results. The Smith poll is significant because Smith is not only one of the highest rated polling companies, but it most accurately predicted the 2013 election results.

In addition, the Smith poll makes Lapid the first contender to achieve that kind of success in a mid-term poll since Kadima, under Tzipi Livni, hit 30 seats in polls following Ehud Barak’s split from Labor in early 2011.  Friday’s poll also indicated that the two other current self-labeled center parties, led by Tzipi Livni and Shaul Mofaz, would fail to pass the threshold in a new election, with their eight seats likely heading to Yesh Atid.

Ever since Netanyahu climbed to the top of the polls in the aftermath of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, there has been a shift of support from the traditional ideological left vs. right vote to the “Netanyahu & friends” vs. the “Anti-Netanyahu” vote. This phenomenon was evident when extreme left-wing party Meretz dropped to three seats in the 2009 elections because left-wing voters supported Tzipi Livni, hoping she would defeat Netanyahu.

In that election, Livni won 29 mandates, but Netanyahu, with 28 mandates, nevertheless formed the coalition. After Barak formed the Independence party and Labor faced another possible split led by MK Amir Peretz, polls showed that Labor voters began to support Livni. A few months later, however, voters have pulled their support from Livni. That’s because while Netanyahu hasn’t had any real competition since – he has now.

Although the current government has an unconventional make-up, splitting the Knesset into its traditional blocks, the key to the next government, shows a tie between the right and left. The poll gives the right-religious block of Likud-Beitenu, Bayit Yehudi, Shas and UTJ 60 seats. The center-left-Arab block of Yesh Atid, Labor, Meretz, Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad win the other 60. One could argue that the Arab parties would never join a coalition, but splitting the seats between the traditional blocks gives a good indication for Netanyahu’s chances of forming a government. That’s because one can expect members of the center-left block to not join a Netanyahu government unless they expect him to form a coalition without them.

Many in the ideological-left camp feel that Labor, the third largest party, will be a big player in the next election. But Labor ran as the alternative to the Netanyahu government this past election and won a disappointing 15 seats. The Smith poll has Labor falling to 12, lower than the 13 seats Labor achieved under Ehud Barak in the 2009 elections. Labor, which has seen six leadership changes in the last dozen years, has become somewhat of a joke in many political circles. It seems highly unlikely that the party, under whichever leader it chooses, will be able to convince the Israeli voter to yet again look to them as the alternative to Netanyahu.

Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi came in fourth place in the recent elections with 12 seats. Bennett is an obvious future candidate for Prime Minister and will be a key player in the next election. The Smith poll has Bennett’s party in third place which means that after the next elections, he may have a chance to play the traditional kingmaker role of Israeli politics deciding between his former boss Prime Minister Netanyahu and his new best friend Yair Lapid. The thought of Bennett not backing the right-wing candidate seems improbable, but not if Netanyahu treats Bennett during this administration as poorly as he did in the weeks following the recent elections.

Jeremy Saltan

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-next-round-will-netanyahu-retain-his-title/2013/05/07/

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