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      Begin: Social Justice Starts with Weaker Classes

      Minister Benny Begin: "Social justice starts with employment for weaker citizens, not with top earners".
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 8/16/2011, 3:46 PM

      Minister Begin
      Minister Begin
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      Minister Benny Begin, speaking for Treasury Minister Yuval Steinitz who was at finance meetings,  answered Opposition criticism of the government's economic policies by attacking the Opposition itself.

      He also presented the protest as an upper-middle class protest and said that true social justice begins with providing employment for the lower classes.

      Observers have noted that those below the poverty line are not seen at the protests.  

      The phenomenon in which many households spend more than they earn, said Begin, did not begin in 2009, when the present government was sworn in. Between 2004 and 2007, the average household's deficit shrank somewhat, but in 2007-2009, when Kadima was still in power, it grew.
       
      When the Likud government entered office in 2009, the average deficit was around 1,500 shekels, he said, addressing Kadima MK Dalia Itzik. "Your cries, as if this thing began last week or two months ago… where were you all this time? In Zanzibar?
       
      "Was it our government that decided not to build apartments in central Israel? It was your decision. For 10 years, there has been a gap between the number of apartments being built and the ones demanded." 
       
      A household with a pre-tax income of 17,000 shekels is in the top 30 percent of the population, said Begin. But social justice starts with the lower percentiles.
       
      Begin pointed out that there was 7.5 percent unemployment when the present government was sworn in, and that this number has shrunk to 5.7 percent. "This is social justice!" he said.