Itongadol.- Four papers discuss Finance Minister Yair Lapid\’s plans for spending cuts and tax increases to be included in the 2013 state budget:
The Jerusalem Post notes the discrepancy between the tax burden placed on the average Israeli and that ofon the large corporations, and states that “the discriminatory and distorted aspects of our tax system need to be replaced with a clearer, simpler and fairer tax code.” The editor calls for these changes to be made “immediately, as part of the 2013-2014 fiscal budget and accompanying legislation,” and adds: “Perhaps when Israelis see that big business is also being forced to share the burden to ensure that the State of Israel remains strong, the bite of tax hikes and budget cuts will be a little easier to bear.”
Haaretz asserts: “The package of budget cuts and tax increases, with all its shortcomings, was an indisputable necessity.”
Ma\’ariv says that the Finance Minister "will need to withstand the harsh criticism and the struggle against the ministers, each one of whom, yesterday, jumped to show they will make his life difficult and will also stick pins into him here and there." The author notes: "Even the Prime Minister hinted that the [final] budget will look different," and asks: "It will be interesting to see where he will find the missing billions; maybe in China?" The paper notes that "Lapid still enjoys considerable public credit; he is still acceptable and popular," and concludes: "Many are also accepting his explanations about the scorched earth he received and the need to save the economy. If he passes this budget in peace, standing upright and not hit from every side, he will be considered a success story, in spite of everything. If he does not show determination and leadership, he can shelve his high dreams."
Yediot Aharonot asserts that "Netanyahu and Lapid are both intelligent politicians. They have exceptional verbal abilities and powers of persuasion. What Netanyahu lacks – and I fear Lapid does too – is the ability to distinguish between rhetoric and truth, between slogans and reality. Both of them pulled a fast one on their voters." The author adds: "Netanyahu fled to China from this discussion. He will allow Lapid to be the bad cop and afterwards will rescind some of the decrees and portray himself as the arbitrator, the responsible adult, the good cop. He will avoid dealing with the questions of how the deficit was created, why the previous government stuck its head in the sand even as there was a dramatic fall in state revenues and why, for all intents and purposes, he engaged in election economics. He will avoid dealing with the question of why he insisted on offering Lapid the Finance Ministry; does burying a political rival justify damaging the state?"
Yisrael Hayom says that the revived Arab League peace proposal "calls on Israel to take a tangible and deadly risk/gamble in exchange for an agreement that is open to being violated," and accuses its Israeli proponents of, inter alia, "belittling the significance of the patterns of inter-Arab behavior that have come to the fore in the past three years: Violent intolerance for those who are different and \’heretics\’; violent tribal, ethnic, religious, conceptual and geographic fragmentation; unstable policies and coalitions; and agreements that are scratched on ice, not etched in stone."
[Shalom Yerushalmi, Nahum Barnea and Yoram Ettinger wrote today’s articles in Ma\’ariv, Yediot Ahronot and Yisrael Hayom, respectively.]