Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
MK Mansour Abbas, head of the Ra'am party, April 19, 2021.

Likud chairman and leader of the opposition Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the government’s approval of the 2020-2021 budget and accused it of levying new taxes so that the government could pay off its Islamic coalition members and retain power.

After hours of deliberations, the government voted on Monday morning and approved the budget for 2020-2021.

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Speaking at a meeting of the Likud faction on Monday, Netanyahu stated that “this bad government lied to the citizens of Israel for the sake of its establishment and it continues to lie to them for its survival. Bennett said he did not sit with Lapid, Liberman said he would not raise taxes, and they of course did the exact opposite.”

“I have quite a bit of experience in economics. I had the right as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance to turn Israel into a free and growing economy. I passed a lot of budgets, but I have never seen such a bad budget,” he charged.

Some say that the budget has no new message, he pointed out, saying that “it has a terrible message. It is a collection of economic decrees, raising taxes and raising prices.”

His government “lowered taxes and lowered electricity prices. When we entered the Corona crisis not only did we not raise taxes, we also supported citizens. And what is the current government doing? Raises the prices of electricity, public transportation, property taxes, bread, it imposes a tax on the purchase of products from abroad on the Internet, a Netflix tax, a tax on visiting professional doctors, it raises the prices of soft drinks, raises the prices of disposable products and in addition to all this also hurts In Israeli farmers and agriculture,” he said.

“Instead of lowering taxes and making it easier for Israeli citizens, they raise taxes and prices and harm Israeli citizens. And why are they doing this? They have to pay NIS 53 billion promised to Mansour Abbas [head of the Islamic Ra’am party and a member of Bennett’s collation] for their government to survive,” he said.

“They imposed the Abbas tax [Mas Abbas in Hebrew] on Israel. And why are the citizens of Israel the ones who have to pay the price? They should not. We will overthrow this government soon,” he vowed.

Member of Knesset Betzalel Smotrich, head of the Religious Zionist party and a member of the opposition, said that the approved budget “is further proof of Bennett’s lie. An initial analysis of the budget shows that it reflects a scale of priorities of a strictly left-wing secular value. Bennett set aside only the values of the right and religious Zionism and put only himself at the center.”

The government now faces an uphill battle in approving the budget by the Knesset, where it has only a slim majority.

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