Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz Israel News photo: Flash 90

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz issued a call Tuesday to business leaders not to be afraid to criticize the social protests. The protest activists "behave with populism and ignore the state's struggle against the global financial crisis," he said.

"Making a profit is allowed, and this is the business sector's motivation, and the state of Israel has no growth without a living and vibrant business sector that makes profits and invests," Steinitz told the audience at the conference, which is dedicated to strengthening the business sector. "The incitement against the business sector should be stopped without fear, even if it involves criticizing the protest, some of which constituted incitement against businessmen while ignoring the world economy."

The Students' Federation, whose chairman was one of the leader's of last year's social protests, called Steinitz's statement "insensitive and arrogant."

Activists from last summer's protests reported Tuesday that they have been summoned by police for questioning, ahead of the planned renewal of the protests. MK Shelly Yechimovich (Labor) called on police to stop summoning the activists and called the summonses "dangerous."

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