Amram Mitzna
Amram MitznaFlash 90

Appointing Yair Lapid to the position of Finance Minister was irresponsible, MK Amram Mitzna (Hatnua) said on Saturday.

"Appointing Yair Lapid as Finance Minister was a gamble, just as it was irresponsible to appoint Amir Peretz as Defense Minister," said Mitzna at a cultural event in Holon, referring to Peretz’s appointment in 2006 by then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, despite his lack of experience on defense issues.

Peretz and Mitzna are members of the same party but are at odds since Peretz, the party’s number three, was appointed to a ministerial position at Mitzna’s expense.

"There cannot be a situation where a Minister comes to an operational position without ever having managed anything in his life. Managing and leading is a profession," said Mitzna, who chairs the Knesset Education Committee. He added that the current government includes ministers who “were not partners in making tough decisions” during their political careers.

Speaking about Lapid’s planned budget cuts, Mitzna said, "We all expect Yair Lapid to bring in new politics with outside the box thinking and without hurting the vulnerable populations, such as the elderly or the middle class ... and I have a solution - don’t make lateral cuts, but progressive ones. For example, regarding the children’s allowances. I have three children and seven grandchildren who can afford to live without a child allowance, so those who earn a good income don’t have to receive a child allowance. It is also possible to reduce the VAT on food products and on fruits and vegetables, and increase the VAT on everything else to 20 percent.”

Referring to Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, which the head of his party, Tzipi Livni, was placed in charge of, Mitzna admitted that he doubted that the current make-up of the government will make it difficult to reach a peace agreement, but said that he joined Hatnua and the government just for the small chance that an agreement could be reached.

He also once again expressed his disappointment over the fact that Livni had broken her promise to him and did not appoint him to a ministerial position, but said that heading the Knesset’s Education Committee was no less of an important role.