Liberman Trashes Opposition Bill to Raise Minimum Wage

By Hamodia Staff

Finance Minister and Yisrael Beytenu party chairman Avigdor Liberman. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM – Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman reacted badly to the preliminary approval on Wednesday of an opposition bill to raise the minimum wage, dismissing it as a populist measure.

Liberman told Channel 12: “Raising the minimum wage is pure populism. Everyone needs to be responsible for their actions. We will act in accordance with economic common sense.

“Right now we are putting off the budget discussions and putting things back in order. The budget I pass will be professional, without populism,” he said.

A bill proposed by the Joint List party raising the minimum wage to NIS 40 ($12) per hour was approved in a preliminary reading in a vote of 23 MKs against four on Wednesday afternoon, despite reports that parts of the coalition were planning on opposing the bill.

Labor MK Naama Lazimi – a member of the coalition – has long championed raising the minimum wage, and she is the sponsor of one of three linked bills that were brought up for a vote in the plenum. The other two are sponsored by opposition MKs.

As interlinked bills, the three would be voted upon together.

The driving force behind all three bills is the organization Standing Together. A spokesman for the organization says that after a fight with Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman held up progress for Lazimi’s effort, it turned to the opposition.

The current minimum wage is NIS 29.12 ($8.7) an hour.

Even after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar demanded all coalition MKs remain in the plenum and vote the bill down, most of the MKs left the plenum, in yet another sign of the fragility of the coalition. Rebel Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi stayed in the plenum and voted for the bill along with the opposition, as did most members of Ra’am.

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