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      Lapid: Budget Cuts 'Painful and Necessary'

      Minister of Finance says Israel must "return to responsible behavior so that we don't turn into Greece or Spain."
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 4/13/2013, 8:48 PM

      Finance Minister Yair Lapid
      Finance Minister Yair Lapid
      Flash 90

      Writing on his Facebook page, Minister of Finance Yair Lapid prepared Israelis for upcoming budget cuts.

      "Economies are changed in one day, or in three weeks," he wrote. "First of all, we must return to responsible behavior so that we don't turn into Greece or Spain. I know that it isn’t easy; I know that the cuts are frightening and that people have trouble making ends meet, but what we are doing now is a painful and necessary correction, and it will not last too long."

      The steps now being taken are part of a long-range plan, he said, "which will bring about a deep change in education, housing, lowering the cost of living, equality in military service, and everything that the working Israeli cares about."

      "Some people like to say that Israelis only care about their money," he added. "I don’t believe that for a minute. Israelis are not angry because they are facing difficulty; Memorial Day is coming up, and it is a sad reminder that we have faced much larger challenges. What angers them is the feeling that the money is going to the wrong places, and that the government does not remember that it needs to treat every agora of their tax money as sacrosanct."

      Lapid said that balancing the budget "will take time but it will succeed," because "we will be determined and patient, and we will not surrender to short-sighted populism."