Herzog to Likud: Stop Attacking Peres

Labor leader blasts the Likud party after it exchanged jabs with former President Shimon Peres over poverty.

Elad Benari ,

Yitzhak Herzog
Yitzhak Herzog
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Labor leader MK Yitzhak Herzog on Monday evening blasted the Likud party, after it hit back at former President Shimon Peres, who made a jab at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government by saying it "talks but doesn't act" against poverty.

“I would suggest to the various Likud spokespersons to cease their anonymous and cowardly attacks on former President Shimon Peres, one of the founders of our country and one of the people who have the most rights in our 66 years of existence,” Herzog wrote on his Facebook page.

“If the Likud has something to say, let them come and confront me and the way we are presenting to solve the most difficult social ills left behind by six years of the reign of Netanyahu. The strategic threat that Netanyahu and the Likud refuse to recognize is the poverty, hunger and the daily struggle of millions of civilians in Israel to live a life of dignity,” he added.

“Former President Shimon Peres, who lives and breathes the good of this country since it was founded, today voiced loudly and clearly the feelings of the majority of the citizens of the country - who are worried and anxious about the social and economic situation in Israel,” said Herzog.

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."

Responding to the statements, Likud fired back and said, "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.