Likud and Peres in Showdown Over Social Justice

Peres charges PM 'all talk,' at which Likud lists achievements and asks 'what has left done?'; 'Peres's b-day could have fed thousands.'

Hezki Baruch, Ari Yashar ,

Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

Likud struck back after former President Shimon Peres made a jab at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government on Monday, saying it "talks but doesn't act" against poverty.

Speaking at a conference of NPOs providing food for the needy at the Peres Center for Peace in Yafo, Peres said on Monday morning "the poverty report of the Latet organization is a most serious indictment against us. It is impossible to reject or discount the figures of the report.

"You can't feed hungry children and elderly with talk," said Peres. "We are taking the future away from our children. If we don't raise the issue to the top of priorities, maybe we will win in battles but we will lose our children. Both those who are the soldiers of the future and those who raised us."

Peres added "as we knew to raise money for security and war, we must raise money to deal with poverty. The elections are a chance to do social justice so as to be at peace with ourselves and have social resilience. All of the parties must put the treatment of poverty at the head of their priorities."

Responding to the statements, Likud fired back "when Prime Minister Netanyahu raised the minimum wage to 4,300 shekels (just over $1,000) in 2011 that was action, not talk. When we legislated the free education law from the age of three and saved 800 shekels to families per child that was action, not talk. When we brought in free dental care for children up to 12 that was action, not talk."

"When we gave a free year of academic studies for released soldiers from the Negev and Galilee and lowered the cell phone prices that was action, not talk," continued the Likud statement. "The only talk is the baseless libels by leftists against Netanyahu and the Likud. And now, after the talk against Netanyahu, please tell us what actions you in the left did for the public?"

Former Yesha Council Chairman Dani Dayan, who recently joined Jewish Home, also responded to the comments by Peres.

"This is a man who the budget for his 90th birthday, which was celebrated for a whole year, could have fed tens of thousands of hungry people," said Dayan, noting on the extravaganza held for Peres that cost 2 million shekels ($450,000).

"In addition, the budget of the President's Residence rose by millions of shekels under his term and reached around 60 million shekels," said Dayan. "Peres isn't the man to teach us about social justice."

As noted by Dayan, the presidential institution cost the state a whopping 62 million shekels ($17.6 million) in 2012, a figure three times higher than a decade earlier.