Two papers discuss Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu\’s and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz\’s decision to raise the 2013 deficit target to 3%:
Yediot Aharonot reminds its readers that "When the overnment has a deficit, it needs loans to finance the gap. The decision to increase the deficit means increasing the public debt." The author notes that the Bank of Israel recently predicted 3% growth in 2013 and avers that "There is no economic need to increase the deficit." The paper proceeds to ask: "What could be the reason?" and answers: "It is called an election year. Elections will be held in the fall of 2013. The Knesset will decide on the 2013 budget at the end of December 2012. The economic measures included in the budget will be carried out over the course of 2013, i.e. on a timetable which the voters could well remember." The author recalls that "Over the last two years they have promised to carry out so many things," and adds that yesterday\’s decision will reduce the projected shortfall in the 2013 budget from NIS 30 billion – "a major headache" – to a more manageable NIS 14 billion without requiring either major cutbacks or increased taxes.
Ma\’ariv suggests that the Prime Minister "blinked first," and believes that instead of either cutting spending or raising taxes, "Netanyahu, who is the economic super-minister, doubled the deficit target in the 2013 budget from 1.5% to 3%." The author likens the situation to a household that decides it cannot cut expenses and elects to double its monthly overdraft instead. The paper asserts: "There is no doubt that the Prime Minister was compelled to decide to increase the deficit under pressure from the social protest demonstrations and the fear of growing public criticism of the [reported package of] cuts that will [now] be withdrawn," and reminds its readers that "The 2013 budget will be approved near the end of 2012 – a relatively short time before the elections, the official date of which is November 2013." The author suggests that "Netanyahu was afraid to make the right decisions such as cutting items in the budget wh! ich were liable to arouse the public against him." The paper dismisses the ministers\’ promise to reduce the deficit in the future and concludes: "It is easy to be tempted to live at the expense of the future, as any family addicted to an overdraft knows."
Yisrael Hayom discusses the Israel Police\’s response to the latest round of social protests. While the author expects the police to show due prudence and caution, he nevertheless declares: "Whoever assaults a police officer or throws garbage bins in the street, and occasionally shatters the windows of businesses and banks, needs to find opposite him the strong hand of the rule of law." The paper adds: "The attempt to howl that the police are being violent – sometimes this is correct, but not automatically – is intended to deter them from fulfilling their duty in the next round." The author calls on Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Israel Police Inspector-General Yohanan Danino to instruct police personnel how to act in the future and to remind them that "The worst failure from a public point-of-view is allowing anarchy to prevail."
Haaretz believes that “Putin must get tougher with Assad,” and states: “someone who can stop a massacre and doesn\’t put everything he has into stopping it could be considered a partner to that massacre.”
The Jerusalem Post notes that “In stark contrast to the violent scenes witnessed in February 2006 at Amona, the evacuation of settlers from the Ulpana outpost in Beit El has so far progressed peacefully,” and asserts: “this is in large part due to the wisdom and courage of leaders both in the government and among the settlers.”
[Gideon Eshet, Yehuda Sharoni and Dan Margalit wrote today’s articles in Yediot Aharonot, Ma\’ariv and Yisrael Hayom, respectively.]