Opposition to Lapid: ‘Have You No Shame?’

Yesh Atid MK Miki Levy at the Knesset plenum, derided rumors of higher education cutbacks as “spin.” (Flash90)
Yesh Atid MK Miki Levy at the Knesset plenum, derided rumors of higher education cutbacks as “spin.” (Flash90)

Finance Minister Yair Lapid took a full helping of parliamentary invective on Tuesday as the Knesset took up the issue of the new budget, an entity it has heard much about but has yet to see.

Labor party leader Shelly Yacimovich, the elected Opposition Head, opened the plenum discussion with a rhetorical onslaught against Lapid’s rumored plans to cut higher education funding and raise tuition fees.

“Have you no shame?” she asked. “Two minutes you’ve been sitting (in government) and who do you hit first, the very same people you promised to represent? Imagine that the Education and Finance Minster were from Shas, and they decided to target students, imagine what an uproar we would have heard here.

“Look what you are doing, increasing inequality, hurting research, science, medicine, the army, technology, culture and anything else that that isn’t directly connected to survival … in other words: Have you no shame?”

Lapid denied the charges, issuing a statement saying, “Dear students, you’re being taken for a ride. Why? Because I woke up this morning to learn that a war was declared against non-existent budget cuts.”

“When I came to the Finance Ministry, I was told there would be no small amount of spins, but this is ridiculous. No one has decided to raise tuition, there are no ultimatums in the air, and if I thought the students would be harmed I would drive home, and protest against myself,” the former columnist wrote.

The Finance Minister was not without allies. Deputy Finance Minister Mickey Levi also denied the story. “We’re not raising tuition, it’s spin,” he said.

Ahead of the special Knesset plenum on the budget, Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman pleaded for a fair chance for Lapid.

“We believe that Lapid deserves the chance to implement the decisions which he believes are best for the Israeli economy and the citizens of Israel.

“There is no do doubt it is easier to be the one who gives advice than the one who must make the decision, and it is even easier to criticize. We do not act in such a way, hence we decided we are granting the Finance Minster our full support.”

Lieberman called upon all MK’s to “share the burden,” by taking a voluntary salary cut of 10% of their salaries from now until the end of 2014.

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