Protesters Outside Lapid's Home Tell Him to Resign
About 100 people demonstrated on Thursday evening, outside the home of Finance Minister Yair Lapid, against the planned budget cuts and tax increases.
The protesters held up signs calling on Lapid to resign and take his voters into consideration, noting that he had promised to take care of the middle class. Army Radio reported that Lapid’s neighbors, upset over the protest, threw eggs at the demonstrators.
The demonstration was the first of several that are planned against Lapid’s budget cuts. Activists have already called for a protest on Saturday night, and have promised to bring back to life the social protests of the summer of 2011.
Daphni Leef, who was one of the leaders of the 2011 protests, took part in Thursday’s demonstration and said, “There will be protests throughout the weekend. It’s gaining momentum.”
Earlier on Thursday, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett expressed full support for Lapid, who in the past several days has been slammed by politicians, charitable groups, and consumer organizations.
“I am not just 'sort of' behind him, but fully behind him,” Bennett wrote in a Facebook post.
“Israel's economy has experienced a 'water pipe explosion' in past years. Each month we spent and wasted money we didn't have. One leak followed another, and we were headed on the road to sure bankruptcy,” he added.
Lapid’s cuts were also backed by Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, who said, "While the program is complex and includes many steps, both on the expenditure side and the revenue side of the government, it's a courageous program which combines the all-inclusive steps intended to return the budget framework to a responsible outline."
President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have also expressed their support for Lapid's plan.
The Finance Minister, meanwhile, said he can identify with those who are demonstrating against the budget.
In an interview with Channel 10 News to air Friday and of which excerpts were released Thursday, Lapid said, "I feel like putting on my black T-shirt, going down to [Rabin] Square and saying, 'Friends, you're demonstrating against yourselves.' "
Lapid said the budget was accompanied by tests, "A real test to prevent you from losing an entire workplace and to prevent your business from crumbling around you." He said he understood that the public was offended by him when a miracle didn't occur.
He continued, "There are no miracles in economics. If there is a deficit of 35 billion shekels, nobody can make it disappear." At the same time, he said the middle class will share the deficit burden with people from other sectors of the economy.